Saturday, July 14, 2012

Startup Weekend - Transforming entrepreneurship in India

“I want to be an Entrepreneur” Sounds Fancy…Isn’t it? I’m sure most of you agree with me…but it’s easier said than done. Everyone wants to be their own boss but little do they realize the hardship that comes along with being an entrepreneur.

While you may have some great ideas but to execute them is the real challenge. Not only does one need some support and handholding, few ideas need an initial investment which might be difficult for young entrepreneurs to gather and kick start their startup!

There are a lot of factors that restrict the youth of our country to take up entrepreneurship seriously. The common things that I get to hear from people around me include – lack of good mentors and parental pressure which stops them to think and do things differently.

While most of the youngsters are looking for good mentoring to help them formulate their ideas better, there are others who are burdened with the parental pressure on them to become a Doctor, Engineer or a Lawyer! Phew!

But there is a place where all such like-minded people can gather, share and discuss ideas. What can work and what can’t is for the judges to decide…but you get at least one chance to get your ideas heard.

One such group, which will hear you and support you is the ‘Startup Weekend’ - a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.

Here’s a sneak peek into the Startup Weekend community:

There should be a sigh of relief for the ‘to-be-entrepreneurs’ in our country as Startup Weekend can provide all the support and mentoring one would need. All you need is a Vision and Mission and a great idea!

Startup Weekend India has been bringing together people from across the country on a common platform to present their ideas. These ideas if liked by the panelists which consists of angelists, venture capitalists and the likes from across corporates, support the young pool of talent and handhold them to reach their ultimate goal. Not only does startup weekend provides a platform where your ideas are heard but also supports the entrepreneurs financially.

Startup Weekend India has successfully organized 8 events till now across the country and has been a force behind a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and pursue entrepreneurship full time.

Do you have it in you? Is there an idea that isn’t letting you sleep?? Come, join the group and share your ideas…you might be the next CEO of a $100 billion company! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Nissan Micra Rode the Social Media Bandwagon

Finally! I have a new car!

It took me just 24 hours to gather advice from my friends and family and decide which car to buy (unlike how my dad used to endlessly agonize over the same decision).

Social tools have helped break down barriers between people, and information sharing has become far easier and quicker. These days, it moves really quickly… we now get to know about earthquakes around the world on social media platforms even before the news reaches broadcasters.

Facebook is becoming the ubiquitous answer to all the questions you could possibly have. It still doesn’t bet Google, but if you want an opinion from your family and friends, Facebook will give it to you in  real time.
According to a Mckinsey report, social media enables a consumer’s decision-making journey. It further states that monitoring what people say about your brand is important, as it is seen as a core function of social media, relevant across the entire consumer decision journey.

And speaking of buying cars, Nissan Motor Company came up with a social media campaign to engage younger Indian drivers for the launch of its “Micra.”

According to an article in the Economic Times, the Micra, which was positioned as a low-cost car for young Indians, saw sales of a little over 12,000 units in the nine months between July 2010 and March 2011.
And that’s when its Communication team thought that it needed to do something different to engage young Indians to buy their first car.

Like most of companies in India, Nissan signed a Bollywood celebrity (Ranbir Kapoor) as brand ambassador. However, to use a different celebrity approach in their communication and outreach efforts, they created a Facebook campaign to create “buzz.”

Entitled “Nissan Star of India,” the Facebook campaign started in September 2011. What made it different? To reel India’s star-crazy youth in, the company gave people a chance to act with Ranbir Kapoor in a commercial for Micra.

What did the contest entail?

People who visited Nissan’s Facebook page had to upload a video of themselves. After an initial lull, the buzz began when a teenager uploaded a candid dance video of hers.

This attracted a lot of traffic to Nisaan Micra’s Facebook page, and encouraged other young people to participate.

Over October and November 2011, Nissan selected the best videos and picked 20 winners. But that wasn’t all; around the same time, to create buzz about the winners and Micra launch, the company began on-the-ground activities across high street malls in nine cities.

According to the Economic Times article, through this online campaign, Nissan India received 538,712 likes on its Facebook page. A little over 7,400 people on the site were talking about it, and the final 4.5 minute video has been seen by 50,722 (and counting) people on YouTube.

And Nissan sold a little under 31,000 Micras since launch till end-March.

I thought this was a pretty innovative campaign… but what about you? What do you think about the company’s use of Facebook and YouTube? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment below.