Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lights! Camera! Action!

Was looking at Zoya all dressed up to do her Krishna Gopi dance in school today and was flooded with memories.

Of my stage performances- kathak, shatriya nritya, bihu, debate, extempore, elocution... there was no competition or show where I wasn't there. Ma firmly believed that I was talented and went all out to put me in the spotlight.

But noone knew what I was going through. The agony, the fear, the clammy hands. For I was a victim of stage fright. Third degree. Before every show I would beg and plea asking ma to spare me. But next day I was up there in the spotlight. And when the lights came on, I would look at her, always in the wings, and begin.

Days merged into months that melted into years. I was all grown up, working. But the performances continued and do so even today. Every day we are performing. Whether it is in our roles in life, or in our careers. Some are real performances- like a client presentation, workshop, seminar or a business pitch. Some are not so evident but still performances. In everyday life.

Feels good to share some of the tips I taught myself for a good performance. Before the show begins.

1. Practice. Practice. Practice. There are no shortcuts.

2. Spend a few minutes alone just before the performance .

3. Focus. There should be no other thoughts except the performance.

4. Smile at others around you. Could be people in the boardroom or the musicians or lightmen behind the stage.

5. Whisper a silent prayer, thanking God for the opportunity and for the great audience out there.

6. And then, as the curtains swing back, take a deep breath, step out with the step of confidence knowing you are the best. And begin.

On stage, there is no room for deceit or pretenses. Only the honest can truly survive. Honest to what we perform, honest about what we say and act or do.There is no right or wrong out there. Its about being original and believing in what we perform.

Finally, we perform best when we are not under pressure. It's a lesson for the stage proud mums and dads out there including myself. Just let kids be kids. They are natural performers and just need encouragement. It's a lesson for the senior colleagues at work. Let people perform in their own style. They just need guidance.

And before I end, like we are all performers, we are also audiences. Let's go all out and clap and cheer. For the biggest reward a performer can receive when the curtains go down is the resounding echo of applause.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Dark Side

If there is one thing I was coveting and craving for all my life, it was a - well- hate to say this but here goes- a fair complexion. Grown up with greetings from aunties - "Oh Sadhana ( my mother) how come she is sooooo dark?" "So what, she is very good in studies", pat came my mother's retort. I wish she had said-" So what if she is dark". But took ma's defence to heart and really pushed myself.

JWT happened, big brands, big clients, good career- but my craving and coveting was still there- like a dormant animal that kept gnawing at me. People who knew my complex used it as the sharpest barb.

A compliment like- wow you look gorgeous- meant more to me than -wow- you have done a superb job.So I went on a weight loss spree, and spent time "packaging" myself. To compensate for my dark side. And it worked. For the first meeting. The first encounters. Post that the best bonds, relationships happened because of the work or what I brought to the table.

Pretty much like packaging brands I must say. It's important to get the packaging just right to appeal to the senses and be a magnet on the shelves. But post that, only true substance can ensure loyalty or repeat purchase. The packaging gets crumpled and binned. And alongwith it, the first perceptions also get binned if the product does not deliver.

It took me 39 long years to come to terms with my dark side. But today I realise that these dark forces were just demons inside my head. And that it is upto each of us to overcome our insecurities and strengthen our substance. Our values. Our talents. That's what creates the ultimate bond.And overcomes our darkest fears.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Let's Celebrate

I just love birthdays. Used to wait for November 4th and wake up breathless. It was the same every year. A Digboi Store wrapped parcel which would have the latest Enid Blyton- two of them, and a Happy Birthday card from Club Store. Mutton for lunch. Chicken for dinner. Cards from friends. And yes a cake from Digboi Store.

Never had a party because my sister's birthday was always celebrated with a big party, lots of guests and gift bags and return gifts and iced drinks and cake and food and I felt guilty wanting a party so soon after that. So I was always happy with my birthday. Because simple though it may sound, it was quite a celebration for me.

Like Ma and Dad's kiss and hug in the morning, my sister's card and a hug, the phonecall from my uncle and my grandmother, wearing a nice dress to school with a packet of Morton's, the class singing Happy Birthday, teachers wishing me, handmade cards and a few small gifts from classmates, the cake in the evening with Ma lighting the candles and Dad and my sister and Ma and the household help singing Happy Birthday to you, my uncle and aunt with their kids who sometimes dropped in, a good dinner and the last Happy birthday goodnight kiss from Ma . Always thanked God for such a wonderful day.

Celebrations aren't always about spending money, having parties, dining out. We can make a celebration out of simple things which are loaded with love and emotion. Like playing music, having people over, good food and great conversation also makes for a great celebration.

In fact, we are used to showing sparkles , champagne glasses and balloon bursts whenever we use the word Celebrate. Why not show something more ? Something more personal? Like a card? A hug? Music notes? Smiles? Sounds of Laughter?

At the end of it all, celebrations have to end in happiness. It has to take us to a joyous high. A feeling of wanting to make time stand still. And of course money can get us this and much more. No denying that. I myself love what money brings to the table. But sometimes if we depend on that alone, we will realise that after all we have spent, we still feel empty. Like there's room for more.

So here's wishing my sister a fabulous birthday today and hope she celebrates today and each day in her own way . And be happy always.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

8 SIGNS to watch out for in a "marriage"

I have put marriage in quotes in the headline because these signs are for those who are wedded with a piece of legal document and those who are wedded in their minds. Holds true for both. These 8 things are more from experience and observation and are by no means exhaustive or universal truths. A marriage is about two people and only the two know what makes it work and what does not.

Having said this, let's take a look at what I think are some of the SIGNS of things going wrong.

1.When the doggie is the only one called by terms of endearment

2.When the only pillow talk, if at all, is a grunted "good night"

3.When the best hug you get is from hugging the living room cushion

4.When every conversation is just a spark for a heated debate.

5.When we stop looking at ourselves critically in the mirror- maybe even stop looking at one at times

6.When we stop praying for each other's wellbeing and for togetherness

7.When the small joys in life like a walk in the park seem to be something of the yesteryears

8.And last but not the least , when we don't look forward to coming home every evening

Am sure there are many more. Helps to read and learn. And not make the same mistakes again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If you can't stop "it", lie back and enjoy "it"

The wordings are not exactly what the phrase is. But we get the gist. The essence of it is compromise. Make adjustments. Make the most of it. Maximise a situation.

The word here that needs to be examined closely is "can't". It's a powerful word. We use it in some context almost everyday. It makes us do things we don't really want to but make do with because we feel that change is not in our hands. Strange really, how we ourselves weaken our spirit or undermine our potential.

There is nothing called "can't". Everything is possible. And this is not just a preachy sermon but experience from life. All we need to do is "know what we want." Without that we have no direction, no goal. But once that is clear in our mind, we can literally and figuratively move mountains.

I was lying back and enjoying "it" till oneday I realised that I was being a slave to my own weak will and was being trampled upon and made use of. So I just stopped. And decided to take some action. It's not easy. There are odds that come up from least expected factors , family included.It takes huge resilience to fight the "it".

But once we do that, we realise that there is a whole world out there to recognise and appreciate us , our strengths.

We just need to push back the forces against us. And keep pushing back.
Till we discover our true strength and passion.
Then all we need is to go out and really "enjoy".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seeds of Doubt

Undoubtedly the most dangerous seeds to be sown. Seeds of Doubt. It's amazing how these seeds sprout, grow, bud and overtake mind and spirit faster than one can say God Help Me.

Will begin with relationships first. So often we fall prey to someone sowing a tiny little Doubt Seed casually. We mull, think, ruminate and then observe our relationship or partner with gimlet eyes and microscopic detail. Why is she late? Why does he have to travel so much?Who does she talk to on the phone for so long? That's it. We may as well kill the relationship ourselves with our bare hands.

Same goes for us as consumers. Once the seeds are sown, doubt sprouts and the first casualties are conviction and the confidence to buy. Are these batteries defective? Will this shampoo cause hairfall? Does this soup have msg? Why is this pricing so cheap? And the death gong has been rung.

It is such an easy weapon for all enemies. Just a whisper, a Facebook update, a seemingly innocent Twitter, a casual word of mouth and the ball starts rolling.

The best way to guard ourselves from these seeds is trust. Trusting one another in a relationship.Trust our own judgement as consumers. Trust our own instincts.

Not such a hard job. Just need belief in ourselves. Belief that we have the power to judge . To tale calls. To decide.

And the seeds will never sprout.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Emotionally Perfect

Sometimes we work so hard to be perfect that we end up being imperfect.I realised this today in the strangest of places- my kitchen.It all started with my desire to resume cooking. One and a half months of Gurgaon and settling down had taken its toll on my culinary skills. Then came the bigger challenge. When you are with someone who is undoubtably one of the world's best cook and has mastered both the art and the science of cooking, the going gets tough.

I decided I had to be perfect. Trawled the net, actually went on a dizzying spree of recipe hunting for a fish curry. Dived into blogs, notes, recipes,websites, FB pages- you name it. Took print outs of half a dozen recipes and mulled over them. This became a project bigger than my current office one.

Started off the process, armed with recipes and riled with nervousness. What if it doesn't turn out great? What if it is not perfect? What if I fall short? I got so worked up that my face was whiter than the fish scales.

And then it struck me. Why am I losing my confidence? Because I was trying too hard to meet non existent benchmarks. I realised that my benchmark was my own cooking and not what the best recipe books said. That's it. Went about with a hum on my lips, chopping, frying, tasting... and finally purred with pleasure when it was declared the best fish curry ever tasted.

What a wonderful lesson. Not to be stressed by performance pressures. This can only end in performance anxiety. Our benchmarks should be our own. And in a funny way, all our benchmarks definitely match up to the universal benchmarks as well. So if the end delivery is a great meal, one way of delivering is a superbly cooked perfect meal. Another way could be a not so perectly cooked but made lovingly- like mum's cooking. Which always is perfect and is always voted a best meal, no matter what. Because it comes with so much love.

Emotions, feelings go into whatever we do. Whether it is a curry we cook, a project at work or a relationship. We can go about doing things like clockwork, meeting standards and benchmarks and also doing fantastically well. We can also go about doing the same work with lot of passion and energy and love and do equally well when it comes to the end objective or delivery.

And to my mind, the second way can in fact score a little more at times- at least when the end objective is about happiness and satisfaction. For nothing shows more in our performance than the emotions and intent behind it.

Happy weekend everyone:-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finding our Catalyst

Must say I am tired. Of toeing the line when it comes to societal expectations.My mother would always tell me that I should focus on chartering my own course of happiness.And the only thing we should bear in mind is to be absolutely honest. To others. And more importantly, ourselves.

That's where most of us go wrong. We succumb to what we think are external forces and expectations and lead a life that is a compromise at best and a sacrifice at worst, for some. Till oneday we rear our heads up with a new found strength and say Whoa! Enough!Maybe we don't know where to find this strength.

We don't need to look further. The strength is within us. We have the power to move mountains. Just that at times we seek a catalyst to spark off the fire in us. The catalyst could be anyone or anything- a new relationship, a new job or passion, travel, solitude,a friend, a colleague, a boss, a client.

Catalysts spark off energy that lies dormant and rejuvenates. It changes or reveals a perspective that we have been looking for and helps us resume our journey of life. With new found vigour. With a catalyst, we don't have fear. Of external pressures.Or internal misgivings.

How do we find catalysts? Actually we don't. Most times catalysts come our way because of our own determination. We create or discover them. By not giving up our dreams. By not giving up hope and belief. In life. And once they spark us off, life takes on a new meaning.

Writing on the Wall

In today's world of communication, social media, new expression tools, one often tends to overlook the power of the unsaid. We are so obsessed with talking and outshouting and competing that sometimes we fail to see the writing on the wall.

We need to see these writings. At work, in the family, in relationships. While invisible, the writings on the wall send out strong signals. We just have to learn to be receptive.

Often we hear about big business losses and witch hunts that follow. A post mortem often reveals that signals had already been floating around for months before the axing. We just choose to ignore or failed to respond.

Relationships break because we are blind to these writings.

So are writings on the wall prophetic? Maybe yes in a way. For they predict something in the future. Whether it is marketing or relationships or workplace, we have to learn being sensitive to these writings.

The best way to address this is to be aware of what is unsaid. We have to stop going by what we heard, what we saw, what we observed alone and learn to decode what is left unsaid."We are not happy with the way things are going" can start off as a casual comment over a regular coffee meeting but can assume gigantic proportions if we don't act on time. Or " Ooops I forgot that today is our anniversary " can at times be more than just a temporary memory failing.

At the workplace,the best way to read and respond to signs is to act and not wait.
Ask, start a dialogue, understand issues, pursue, change , show passion, interest, respond ... these are some of the ways in which we can address what may lie in the offing.

Same principles apply to life and relationships as well.

Finally, I read this wonderful quote- “Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Well Done"

Last two weeks have shown me how important appreciation is in encouraging and motivating people. I mean, what started out as a one off rambling for me to kill some time in the evening has turned out to be a regular pastime, no, a passion for me now. I love every word people write about what I have posted, I am welcome to comments, and I am flooded with ideas.

Appreciation is a catalyst. It takes us no time at all to say "Well done" or "Keep it up". But sometimes we just tend to ignore that. Or feel it doesn't matter.

More than appreciation, I guess it's acknowledgement. Which could have constructive feedback as well. Builds to improve. But the sheer fact that someone has acknowledged our work is enough to get us going. And reaching for more.

Thanks everyone. And please feel free to build.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Workplace Commandments

Individual responsibility and collective celebration
Identifying strengths of team-mates and rewarding them
Criticising the performance and not the performer
Standing up for what you believe is right
Creating a happy workplace. Because happy people are the most effective ones
Learning to laugh. At oneself. With others

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When the Inner Voice Speaks, it's time to Listen

Before some of you write me off thinking I have lost it, this is not just a philosophical musing but has implications on our work life as well. And is inspired from Gladwell's "Blink".
And The Secret. And Deepak Chopra. And Robin Sharma. And Buddhism. And Art of living. Not to forget the Assamese Kirtan.

Listening to the Inner Voice is not easy.Most times, we mistake our own thoughts as the Inner Voice. I would like to define the Inner Voice as the most spontaneous thought or response to a problem or conflict or an answer we are seeking consciously or subconsciously. It is our Instinct.

Inner Voice is not religious. Though I personally find it easier to isolate it just after my prayers, maybe because the mind is less clouded. And there is a fair amount of logic to it. The Instinctive or Inner Voice is a response we have as a result of all our experience, our information absorbtion, our observations. It is our mind churning and processing all that we have garnered on any subject or related subjects and coming up with the most apt response. So there is nothing magical about it.

What is magical however is that the Inner Voice can give us answers that we consciously fail to arrive at . Because the subconscious mind is said to be much more powerful. That is why the Inner Voice is often refered to as the Voice of God.

The Instinctive Response is something most successful marketers use for that ultimate decision. We can have all the focus groups and research but at the end of the day, we need to take that all important call. Ourselves. Not leave it to a collective summation of consumers and research. This is what Gladwell also refers to with great examples in Blink!.

Some of the ways in which we can train ourselves to hear our Inner Voice are:
a) Give ourselves a couple of minutes of silence and solitude. Silence energises us and empowers us to think, to churn, to isolate thoughts and to reconnect with ourselves. We can be more responsive to the Inner Voice when we are in silence. Even at work, it just means a few minutes of silence when we are faced with a problem.

b) Listen. The Art of Listening is very important. When we start listening to others, we can also start listening to ourselves."When we listen creative waters flow".

c)Start acting.The best way to react to our Inner Voice is to start acting. The more we act and respond, the more confident we become. After all it is us we are listening to. Not anyone else.

d)Identify Heartscapes. Of ourselves. Our consumers. I had coined this term in my Chevening scholarship paper. To say that it is the heart that marketers should aim for and not just the mind. Heartscapes lodge feelings and emotions for our passions, relationships, bonds, hobbies, religion. Everything. Most times we buy with our minds but respond with our hearts. Understanding heartscapes bring us closer to the Inner Voice which is often the Voice of the Heart. It is Intuitive.

I started connecting with my Inner Voice when I lost my parents and was completely alone. When you have noone for advice, you try and find answers yourself. That's how it started. And today I am the most confident when I take my calls. Whether it is a business call or a call in life. Whatever be the consequences, these calls come from my heart.

I welcome your views on this one. Ciao.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brand Resume

I will not claim originality for the term "Brand Resume".
In fact I am sure lots have been written about this in terms of brand personality, essence etc. However I have taken a stab at what I feel can be a very simple way each one of us working on brands in marketing or advertising can create, to breathe life into our brand.

Happy reading:-)

The Concept:

Brand Resume

The Idea:

A Brand Resume is simply put, a resume for a brand.

Why do we write a resume?
It’s a marketing pitch
It’s a positioning
It’s a pen picture of what each of us want to portray ourselves as
It’s our introduction and our identity

So why Brand Resume?

Various positioning tools, brand worlds, essences, architectures are used to carve out an identity for a brand.

A simple way to summarise all of these would be to write a brand resume.

It will be a document that will always have an updated identity of the brand and can be used as the most effective marketing and positioning pitch.

It will disciple all brand stakeholders to crunch all the relevant information on the brand into a precise and sharp format.

What will a brand Resume feature?

Pretty much what our own resumes do.
For instance

• Introduction
• Quick background
• Current position
• Achievements/ track record
• Strengths and weakness
• Interests
• One line summary of what the brand stands for

How is it different from what brand stakeholders use today?

It is an identity all of us write for ourselves and are very adept at.
We know exactly what to play up and how to brand ourselves as smart thinkers and showcase our professional prowess.

A Brand Resume is perfect for a handy sum up of what the brand stands for .
It can be used for furthering strategic initiatives, for creative development and for marketing and sales pitches to consumers.

Why would brand stakeholders wish to adopt this as a tool?

Because we all love writing and rewriting and brushing up our own resumes.
So why not take a stab on the brands we build.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Random Ramblings: It's About Time

Random Ramblings: It's About Time: "Women and Time Management I am not a feminist. Nor am I into women's rights or anything of the sort. But a long career in an industry wher..."

It's About Time

Women and Time Management

I am not a feminist. Nor am I into women's rights or anything of the sort. But this blog is written from a women's perspective- from my perspective, with no offense meant to anyone - just a straight- from-the-heart piece.

A long career in an industry where "deadlines"  rule our lives and "timelines" are excel sheets emailed to clients, has shown me a behaviour which is quite a paradox. Yes I am talking about "working late". It's quite fashionable to say that at times even  in social gatherings. "I work pretty late". " Oh ya, Mumbai is a safe city. I have come back alone at 3 in the morning". Or "this is the first free weekend after four months."

Now not for a moment am I making sweeping statements here.  The fact that "deadlines" rule the roost means that work goes on well past the official swipe time of 5.30 pm. The artwork HAS to leave tonight or else we miss catching the release.The tapes HAVE to be couriered. Understood. We have all gone through the grind.

But, working late has also  become a way of life for most of us today.  I have had youngsters coming up to me  with "  Can I leave early today?" " Sure, what time?" " Around 6.30" !!!!

What I have noticed and I can vouch for this is that most of my colleagues who manage to  leave around 630 pm are girls. ( We are all girls , even at 50). 
The first question asked to women in most interviews is- “Are you married?” If the answer is “yes”, the next question is “ Do you have kids?” God help her if she says yes. Because then follows a range of explanations provided proactively by the interviewee about how she has her in-laws to take care of her kids and how long hours are not a problem and how her kids are very well behaved and make no demands on her time. All because she thinks she is at a disadvantage.

This is the bane some of us have learnt to live with. So to prove a point, we stay back and show the world "Yes we can". Hours at work rather than productivity becomes the yardstick of appraisals.

Most people seem to have worked out timings very well. They come in late, because they have worked late. They work late because they have  started late. And in a work emvironment where even a signature printed on a mug is teamwork, the entire team has to work "late" because some people have come in late. It is a chicken and egg story really.

My stint in the UK on the Women and Leadership programme opened my eyes on how, in a world where women have to do all chores at home besides working,  time can be managed so efficiently and effectively that lights go off an hour after work. Does work get affected? Not at all. Do clients call and complain? Nopes.

It is possible because time is managed well,  work is planned well and prioratised. Fewer smoke breaks or shorter ones maybe can go a long way to freeing up everybody's time.

I was a "working late" girl as well. Till I realised bitterly the  price I had to pay for it.

1. My little girl has learnt her first words from my maid and not me. She has scribbled her A B Cs alone coz I am never home on time. She still eats dinner in front of the tv because the dining table is never set before ten at night. And oneday I look at her and realise that she is already four. Growing up. Without someone to hold her hand and  play with her everyday.

2.   I  had no time for connecting with friends. Except office lunches and coffees. I almost forgot what it was like to just spend an afternoon with my friend , and talk about Sister Teresa's favourite joke when we were in school.

3. Mealtimes were a compromise. The stress from late hours took its toll.

4. I  had no time. For reading, for  a hobby, for even calling up my mom, who was alone thousands of miles away.

Till oneday I decided to change the course of my life. And the way I worked.

And I am happy. And much more productive than I ever was. I come in  on the dot, plan the day knowing I have 8 hours, prioratise and manage everything. To my surprise, I actually get things done much earlier. That last email can always be sent tomorrow. The review with the executive can definitely wait  a couple of days. The team sees me leave on time and are relieved. No compulsions about working late coz boss is late.

I write this with a lot of feeling. Because the biggest price  I have paid for "working late"  habitually was that I lost touch with myself.  My strengths. My desires. And it's hard to recover. Very hard.

The Consumer is NOT my wife

Wearing the consumer’s shoes more often than we do.
I am  in the business of advertising. I am also a  mother and wife. And yes I am a consumer. I consume multiple brands in multiple categories everyday. I like wearing some brands on my sleeves and lining some brands on my kitchen shelves. I  pride myself in coming up with insights on X brand of noodles or Y brand of  facewash. After all I use them everyday.
Time for a reality check. I am probably the top 2% of the country . Whichever scale I am categorized by. SEC, LSM etc etc. So my insights and understanding as a consumer need not necessarily reflect the attitude and behavior of Sita from Sonapur. Who in fact represents  a big percentage of the pop strata.
So how we get under the consumer’s skin?  How do we understand our consumer better?
Thanks to my 14 years in advertising and working on some power brands and power clients, I have the experience of some very good ways  of wearing the consumer’s shoes.
1.     A 24 hour  Consumer Observation: Spend   a day ( and a night) in the consumer’s house, simply observing. The trick is to almost melt into the background, letting the family go about their usual day, and the usual  routine. Some of the most amazing realities emerge in the  depths of the kitchen  over rotis.
           What to look for.
·         Routine
·         Consumption habits
·         Relationships, roles, responsibilities of family members
·         Cultural, religious influences
·         Media consumption

2.    Shopping  Journeys: Accompany the consumer on her shopping journeys. Could be anything from the regular groceries to the jewelry store. The best way to do this is of course during the monthly shopping. It is sheer magic to see the housewife manage budgets better than most accomplished finance directors.
           What to look for.
·         Buying behavior
·         Impulse vis a vis planned purchase
·         Time spent over each purchase
·         Interaction with retailer

3.    Shopper Observations: Simply spend a day at the kirana store, the neighbourhood mall, the sabzi mandi and watch. Observe.  It can definitely build on  to any thesis on consumer buying behavior.
           What to look for.
·         Cues to purchase
·         Impulse vis a vis planned purchase
·         Impact of displays
·         Window shopping patterns
·         Negotiation and bargaining in mandis

4.    Consumer Entertainment: Watch the channels that she watches, tune in to the  FM she listens to, read the magazine she browses.  Soak in the soap characters she is inspired by, the fashion trends she follows. The incentive is that we will also end up watching the brands that talk to her in these channels. We once had sessions called Eve Chats on a  hair brand that just meant the entire team sitting together for a hour reading regional magazines and watching regional soaps every month. The insights mined were unparalleled.
            What to look for.
·         The fabric of the shows/soaps- what appeals, what are the cultural/regional nuances
·         How are sensibilities addressed
·         The Engrossment quotient of each popular show
·         Features in magazines- what interests
·         Consumer letters to the editor
·         The key character of popular protagonists
·         The brands that beam during these shows and their conversations

5.     Make friends: The neighbourhood grocer, the mall attendant, the gol gappa walla can be the perfect lens for consumers when it comes to behavior. It’s time we spent  ten minutes with them. And chat.
            What to look for.
·         How do they sell their wares
·         Loyal consumers and what makes them tick
·         Buying behaviours

6.    Expert Talks: The gynaecologist, the temple priest, the school teacher, the gym trainer, the  beauty parlour lady , the reality show recruiting agent are experts. They have an understanding on consumers  that   none of us can hope to have.  Talk to them. And share their views.
            What to look for.
·         Understanding the consumer from their perspective
·         The changes and trends in lifestyle
·         Attitudinal changes
·         Stress Points and Happiness Moments

These are just a few ways in which we can live and breathe our consumers. To have a  conversation with them , we need to lead two lives.  With passion and not as a task.
That’s the only way the consumer truly becomes “family”. ( did not dare write “wife”)