Apr
24
Posted on 24-04-2011
Filed Under (BUSINESS) by Shombit

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From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Make no mistake! The PUB Reflex is not about emptying jarfuls of draught beer down your gullet in a pub. Nor will it increase or diminish your reflexes when afterwards on the steering wheel, you have to stop, roll down your glass at the cop’s bidding as he immediately sticks a breath analyzer into your face. My PUB Reflex can make you drunk in unlimited ways. It addicts you to creating the unarticulated and unseen to surprise society with, or to further business or science.pub-jpg

Mass marketing the mobile phone has dramatically changed the human connect system. Earlier you had to reach a landline, condition yourself into a certain telephoning posture, unhook the fixed instrument, dial, then talk. You’d recreate this landline-phone-conversation ritual every time and cost-consciously talk less. But today’s little mobile device frees you, it’s an extension of your life. Just face a mirror to discover how you change your bearing and gestures under different contexts as you chatter away on your mobile phone. You send/receive umpteen messages when you don’t want to intrude, don’t know how else to say those words of love or bereavement, or just to keep in touch with festival greetings or forwarding jokes. City-bred teenagers say they can send 500 sms messages daily, even continue texting upto 4 am. “How come?” I asked. They replied that provocative subjects beyond the ordinary invite instant reflexes. This reconfirms the PUB Reflex process I wrote about in my second book, The Art of the Brand (1993). In contemporary social networking and mobile phone usage, provocation spreads the message and creates interest.

In business, PUB Reflex helps empower your proposition so people buy it. It avoids your having to sell it. Selling and buying are not the same. Hawkers or hookers sell you generic wares, but when customers buy a product, or employees buy into a process on their own initiative, it’s the offtake pull you’ve created that I call PUB Reflex. You first Provoke to make people Understand, which then translates into the customer’s Buy act.

Corporate contamination: Everyday life in the corporate world is contaminated, peppered with boring words like balanced scorecard, go-to-market, or acronyms MOP, ROI, MBO, among others. Business to business industries in particular use stereotype words in heavy-loaded business proposals. Repetitive jargons of incredible pollution are used globally by corporations to bulldoze employees and create a generic effect that’s devoid of emotion and compassion for people. They contaminate people to become robotic rather than provoking their interest to understand and buy. Compromise (31-45 years) and Retro (45+) generation employees get addicted to such contamination and find it difficult to reverse the contaminated jacket. But the below 30 Zap generation is different. They don’t connect to corporate contamination. So they have two roles. The moment they leave work they change their jackets and breathe freedom socially.

You’ve heard and sung "Happy birthday to you!" a thousand times, it’s standard yet emotional as it provokes a person’s nostalgic celebration of birth. It also proves that when words acquire social meaning, they never fatigue, nor become monotonous under any situation. Is the lengthy fashion brand name French Connection United Kingdom provocative? It is for those who know that the French and British never see anything eye-to-eye. Frenchies say Brits don’t know how to dress; Brits reply, Frenchies are froggy. But for everyone else, abbreviating it to FCUK provokes a new language in global fashion. Consumers can easily pronounce it and understand its naughty meaning. Provoking with FCUK is the PUB Reflex example of how a small brand can overcome boringness, become very big in the world with word-of-mouth and extract the low cost, high mileage effect.

Adultery: Both husband and wife working dulls them into the daily grind of transport, children’s education, kitchen and bed, a relationship imminently vulnerable to contamination. Tomorrow, when large numbers of women will start working to earn economic liberty, consumption will grow to accommodate a comfortable life. But so will the egos of husband and wife erupt in search of independence. It’s what’s happened in Europe. The fifties cleaned up World War II’s mess, the sixties was clinical productivity, when women joined the workforce in the seventies, they earned more, spent more, consumed more. From the eighties, it was adultery on both sides. The independent wife no longer sacrificed for the husband’s sexual pleasure, she wanted her own hedonism. They understood each other mechanically, but provocation was amiss. So to exit boredom, adultery became obvious.

Reaching out: Without provocation, the innumerable messages people receive every day really don’t register. Enterprises dole out big advertising bucks, try correlating ad spends to product sales, but they’ll be shocked to know the statistics: a miniscule percentage buys the product from seeing the ad, many don’t understand the ad, or feel bored seeing it, or enjoy the ad but that didn’t translate to purchase. This is the PUB Reflex gap in communication.

Very few companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nike, FCUK, Cisco among others have understood that provocation makes people comprehend product benefit and register the brand. They’ve created sustaining global trends because their new language provokes the masses, makes them understand value and buy the product. Their internal corporate processes are driven in the same non-boring way. Walking around in Mountainview, California, I saw cyclists with Google colours whirring on their wheels. Sure enough, the Google office was less than a kilometer away. This provocation gave me the pleasure of visiting Google which was not in my agenda.

Provocation for provocation’s sake has no sustaining power. Provocation has to magnify the context. An evolved stimulus can transform a vanilla context into a gem that delivers differentiated, quality substance. Understanding the selling or seductive proposition has to be a by-product of the provocative subject. This then automatically translates to the buy-in. From corporate house to family and social life, the stronger your provocation of substance, understanding becomes more intense, and the result is desire fulfillment. I call this the PUB Reflex.

To download above article in PDF The PUB Reflex

Financial Express link :http://www.financialexpress.com/news/the-pub-reflex/780378/0

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