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Much has been said about the new Old Spice “the man your man should smell like” commercials and Isaiah Mustafa, the ridiculously handsome guy whose random rambles got viral on the Internet. The result: you see an old brand reinvent itself and put themselves in people’s thoughts.

The commercials were originally launched in the US around the Super Bowl last February. But the best part of this campaign is that they did not stop with the commercials. Some weeks ago, Old Spice responded to “the Internet” – questions or comments people left on any social media – YouTube, Twitter, blogs. They were the common everyday people and the commercially successful or maybe we should call them “socially popular” people/brands like Starbucks, Kevin Rose, Alyssa Milano. He even responded to his own daughter on one of his videos.

I didn’t hear anybody in India refer to the commercial much. In fact, most of time I mentioned the commercials to my friends and family, they were like “really?, what’s that all about? Old Spice?!” But since this was done on the Internet, it became close to a worldwide phenomenon. It generated a lot of activity online with networks and blogs covering them. Bloggers and marketers were all ga-ga about how Old Spice reinvented themselves.

The first question I had in my mind was, “What are these guys up to?” I mean, this is Old Spice we are talking about. The last time I used an Old Spice product was over 15 years. But here they are – new, refreshing and funny too.

Mashable brought out some stats:

  • Number of videos made: 180+
  • Number of video views: 5.9 million
  • Number of comments: 22,500

(Mashable.com, July 15, 2010)

If you think about it, Old Spice just made some advertisements. But the real difference they made were the personal video responses. Social media is all about making conversation and they did exactly that.

Here are some good reads on the topic:
How the Old Spice videos were made
Lessons for small businesses from Old Spice

I am not going to talk about what marketing lessons we can learn from this campaign or how the right mix of creativity, humor and timing can help in your social media strategy. I just wanted to share this with you, in case you are one of the remaining 6+ billion people in this world who haven’t seen this yet.

Did this interest you? What did you think of the campaign?

Time-Management-LCSomeone said, “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future”

Inundated. I have my work at full steam – and sometimes they get the better of me. Organizing and coordinating the different parts of a media & communications job can be fun. And challenging. I am learning to adjust to the lead times involved in this work and the different time zones!

But why did my blog suffer? I had time to brush my teeth. Take bath. Daily. Eat food. Why did my blog suffer? It was not fair. But I give credit to all of you who have been patient and very encouraging. I am thankful.

Time management has not always been my forte. My idea of time management is to not sleep. But my body does not agree with my theory. How much ever I try, it always gets the better of me. It just would not let me have my way. I don’t know how it does it but it always keeps me in bed for five hours every day. And if I push it too far, bam! In bed you go for a week! If someone knows how to beat that, let me know.

What did I learn about time management?

  • Use a calendar. Paper or online.
  • List your tasks/appointments.
  • Prioritize them. You could either number them or mark them in some way so you can clearly see the important tasks. Those are the ones you want to get done first.
  • Cancel tasks. There is always a “not-to-do-list” where there is a to-do list.
  • Start. Sometimes, this can be the toughest part. There may be planning that is required or information that needs to be gathered. It is important to start somewhere. It sets you in motion. You can build momentum as you move on.
  • Strike them off, once it is done. Move on to the next task.

Side notes:
– It is important to know when to stop. You could go on forever doing a homepage or cleaning the bathroom. It is easier when you realize that you will have to update the homepage tomorrow or the bathroom needs to be clean and sanitized, not polished and slippery! You could always spend more time on tasks once you have finished the other things on your list.

– Don’t beat yourself because you were not able to finish the task list. Learn to carry forward and finish it the next day.

– Some tasks are not meant to be finished in a single day. Break them into parts and split them over days.

How do you manage your time? Would love to know.

8 Steps To Writing Better

November 19, 2009 — 13 Comments

Black-Blank-Book-PenWhen I started writing this, I thought English was the largest spoken language. But Chinese Mandarin is. English is ranked third. English is the official language in 53 countries. And I kinda get the feeling that it is one of the most abused languages in the world too. (Abused may be too harsh a term but you get the idea!) :)

If you find it difficult to write something, what do you do? Do you stop? Do you give up? Do you tell yourself, “This is not my cup of tea!”. I have friends who have thoughts I have never heard before, ideas that are unique, stories that would make people laugh. But those stories get limited to our circle of friends. They wouldn’t start a blog or write a web page because they fear their language. They think it is not good enough. (And I keep telling them, who cares! They should just write.)

Here are some tips that have helped me in my writing. They may not be the life-changing stuff you expect. But I believe if you apply these in your writing, you should be able to see some improvement.

simple

  1. Keep it simple. If you use complex words, it does not make you hip. Using hard-to-pronounce words or words-that-make-me-look-up-a-dictionary-too-often is not really stylish. It puts me off sometimes. It does not mean that you don’t have to learn new words and use them at the appropriate time either. E.g. I came across the word ectoplasm used in a movie review – “When I was small, this movie would have scared the living ectoplasm out of me”. That was a new word for me. I would have just said, “it would have scared the living daylights out of me”. :)spell-check
  2. Spell it correct. Always use the right spelling. Use the spell-check feature on any text editor you use (unless of course you use Notepad!). Even browsers and online text editors come with this facility. Why is spelling so important? To give your writing a professional outlook. Your writing style may be casual, even targeted at people who couldn’t give two hoots for spellings but it definitely makes you look good. Typos, as they are popularly known nowadays, can be avoided using technology. So why not?SMS-Texting
  3. SMS is for mobile phones. But not for online writing and that includes blogs, facebook, twitter etc. Avoid SMS jargons. E.g. “I luv wrtn tis way ten so i dun hv 2 wry abt splngs.” Unless you want to give your reader a headache, you don’t want to write like that. (I don’t agree to use them even in mobile texting.) Twitter sometimes forces you to use them because of the 140 character limit. But even then, please keep such usage to the bare minimum. Maybe one word. Definitely not more than two words.coffee-cups-repeat
  4. Don’t repeat words. Not too often at least. E.g. “I could say what I want to say when I want to say it.” There is nothing wrong with that statement. But you could just say, “I can say what I want, when I want to”. This is important because if you keep repeating your words, the text would drag and become boring. To keep your readers tuned in, be crisp and to the point.glasses-reading
  5. Try get the grammar right. This is the tough part. I really don’t know how to make this easy. Reading helps. Read anything you get – newspapers, magazines, online articles, bumper stickers. Listen lots. I used to love listening to the radio when I was younger. That helped me develop my language. Television can help you there too (assuming you watch English programming). Speaking helps. The more you speak, the more comfortable you become with the language. Ask a close friend who is good at the language to correct you when you make a mistake. And when they correct you, be willing to swallow your pride and accept that correction.  You may also want to check out the Grammar Girl’s podcasts too.typewriter
  6. Write first. Edit later. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Neither the second or third time. Just keep writing. You can polish your work later. I always start with a framework – a list of things I want to cover in the article and then add the bacon and cheese. I think only Mozart was able to write masterpieces the first time he wrote it. So if you get an idea, just start writing. You can edit it later.editing-pencil-eraser-paper
  7. Definitely Edit. Having said my previous point, it would be sin not to review your work before you publish it. Someone once told me he reads what he has written at least three times before he publishes it. He catches most of what he can change in those three reads. You owe it to yourself and your reader to give it your best. If it is important work, ask your wife, friend, colleague to review it for you. They have the advantage of giving your work a fresh eye that could catch mistakes you overlooked.writing
  8. Write. And write. I am happy that the greatest writers in the world are not literary geniuses nor do they hold doctorates in literature. They are people like me and that tells me I have a chance. I believe that you only need a desire to communicate your passion to the world and do it.

If you haven’t started writing yet, will you pick up that pen (or open your word processor)?

Did you find these tips useful? Do you have any tips you would like to share. Share them in the comments below.

Pictures courtesy:
Black book & pen: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1176000 (typofi)
Bottle & Cork: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/632972 (sritenou)
Coffee cups: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1214847 (Pintaric)
Reading glasses: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1232904 (mihow)
Typewriter: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/966154 (abcdz2000)
Pencil Eraser: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1123441 (nkzs)
Paper with writing: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/441337 (hopee)

dubai-post-titleIt has been a hectic week. Setting up for Gitex 2009 in Dubai followed by five fully packed days. I have been wanting to write here but I am so tired by the end of the day, I just fall on the couch and sleep. Even now, it is 3 a.m. in the morning but I wanted to quickly upload some photos of my trip so far. I did fall asleep when doing this last night. So here’s the first upload of photos from Dubai 2009. Not much really. But it should give you a glimpse of Dubai – of what I have seen so far.