CAUSE-RELATED ADVERTISING IN THE TIMES OF CORONA

Last month, #HDFCBank came out with a Facebook post, under the “#OurNeighbourhoodHeroes” series, with the punchline #HumHaarNahiMaanenge. It had the pic of a doctor and read “HDFC Bank recognizes you as our Neighbourhood Hero.” One may think as to what does a bank has to do with saluting a doctor. This is one of the many examples of #CauseRelatedAdvertising in today’s times of #Pandemic. The purpose is simply to ring a bell in the public mind with the brand of #HDFC Bank, not with the usual array of services, for which people may or may not be interested right now, but with a current topic, which is touching everyone’s life. This strategy gives the concerned brand a distinct visibility of not promoting its services but being aware of its duty of recognizing the hard-work put in by some of the #Corona Warriors. However, with every other brand jumping on the Corona Bandwagon, it is a pertinent question as to whether the brand recall will remain in the viewers’ mind for long or not. Any which ever way, HDFC Bank performs its duty of saluting the hard-work put in by all the medical service personnel of the country.

Mr. Kishore Biyani-The Creator, Preserver & Destroyer

The concept of Trinity

I have had the pleasure of coming face-to-face with Sri Kishore Biyani ji twice. The first time was in 1999-2000, when he was invited to NIFT, Delhi at the Convocation and I was taking my baby-steps in academics, after making a move from the Industry.

The second time was in 2007, when I got the opportunity to witness him winning the “International Retailer of the Year” award at the NRF’ (National Retail Federation) 96th Annual Convention & Expo at New York and I was nominated by Pearl Academy and my immediate boss, Sri Anil Kumar Sharma ji to attend that prestigious summit.

At the first instance in 1999-2000, he was acting as the CREATOR of Future Group.

In my second meeting with him, at the 2007 summit, he was the PRESERVER.

And when I go through today’s Business Standard’ headlines, he has truly walked his talk of acting as the DESTROYER, by standing up to his words “PRESERVING THE STATUS QUO HAS NEVER BEEN MY CUP OF TEA. I CONSIDER MYSELF TO BE BOTH THE CREATOR AND DESTROYER.” (In his book, “It Happened in India”)

Hats off to this Retail Maverick of the country, who gave a new dimension to the age-old Indian concept of SST (Sasta, Sundar aur Tikau).

Social Distan Singh-The missing player

Where is Social Distan Singh?

This pic published in The Hindu on Monday the 24th August, 2020, clearly shows the lax attitude of people towards the warnings issued by medical fraternity as well as the government authorities to take the Covid threat seriously and maintain social distancing. What’s more, in a country like India, where Cricket is considered to be a religion, these players are trend-setters. Is it correct for them to risk their own lives as well as the lives of their fans. Sourav Da please take note and add the player of Social Distan Singh to all your teams.

DIVERSITY-THE ROUTE TO HAPPINESS

May Lord Ganapti help you to diversify and commence something new

Ganapati has always been associated with being remembered when you are starting something new. So, this Ganesh Chaturthi weekend, do something diverse-something you have never tried before. This may sound to be difficult during a lockdown, but actually it’s not. Just look at the distinct possibilities- How about joining a new online course-word is out that Python, R, Advanced Excel, AI, Digital Marketing must be mastered by the prospective managers. Done them all, then what about starting learning a new language-French, Spanish, German, Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu or any other. What about taking a plate of flour and kneading for the first time in life-surprise the lady of the house by taking this new step. If you are an atheist, read a chapter of Geeta, Koran, Bible or Guru Granth Sahib-not for anything else, but just to find out as to what is in these religious scriptures which bring solace to billions of people all around the world. Or what about picking up “My Secret Life” by Kim Philby and jumping into the world of double-agents. Or watching a flick, which you were prevented to see by your parent/s in your childhood-I am sure, wherever they are they won’t mind it today. The idea is simply to experience as many activities as you can in this single life of yours. Remember-the same activities every now and then are nothing but boring. Moreover, the more diverse your tastes are, the happier you will be, as there will always be something or the other to be engaged in. So, at a given point of time, if you can’t click a pic, read a book. If you can’t read a book, write. If you can’t write, sing a song. Be as diverse as possible. And if you have tried everything else, then just read my blog and leave a positive comment. Believe me, both of us will be happier. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all.

RIP-CHETAN CHAUHAN SIR

(Image source:- https://www.google.com/search?q=chetan+chauhan+at+sardar+patel+vidyalaya+cricketer&sxsrf=ALeKk0353x-Ds34DB6PhOfKf3n2tcMLmHQ:1597635232136&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=KqS-ES5tYf_aJM%252CE_TBGlbVyKdNnM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kTlSFRgBzkFGaYThttlF6WeeObAjA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjPyPeDp6HrAhWgzDgGHeGjDPQQ9QEwAHoECAoQBQ&biw=1366&bih=576#imgrc=KqS-ES5tYf_aJM)

My very first memory of Chauhan Sir goes back to the Melbourne Cricket Test of 1981. Then in my early teens, it was the time before the dawn of the era of Kapil Dev, and I, like innumerable other kids would be glued to the TV screen or the transistor. Like all Indian parents, my father was very particular about my studies and would often reprimand me for wasting my time on listening and watching Cricket. But I, as an avid fan had found a cheat-code. As the Australia time was 4 and a half hours ahead of India, I would sleep in the night with the small transistor hidden in the razai (quilt). Surprisingly, a late riser like me would get up at 5-6 a.m. in the Winter Break, without any alarm, switch on the small transistor, and put it close to my ear to listen to the cricket commentary. My elder brother who would be in the same room studying would conveniently ignore the sounds if any and wouldn’t leak the secret to our father. And when I would be leaving the bed at 10, when my father had left for his office, I would teleport myself in front of the TV to watch the match live.

During one of these matches at Melbourne a once in a lifetime incident took place. During that series, the Australian umpires were supposed to be at their cheating best and a lot of controversial decisions were given against India. As the Indian innings had opened and the legendary Chetan Sir was in the initial stages of building up the Indian total with his partner Sunil Gavaskar, the umpire declared Sunny Gavaskar out. In a huff, Gavaskar started staging a walk-out. He was walking to the pavilion, trying to push and shove Chauhan Sir with him. Chetan Sir was reluctant, but couldn’t openly defy the Indian Cricket Team Captain. Luckily for India, Indian Cricket Team Manager, Mr. Durrani played a very crucial role. He came rushing from the dressing room, met both the players at the boundary, asked Gavaskar to come into the pavilion, and allowed Chauhan Sir to remain on the field, who was immediately joined by the next player. It was only the presence of the mind of Mr. Durrani and the gentlemanly resolve of Chauhan Sir, which prevented India from the ultimate humiliation of forfeiting the Test and facing suspension as a result. And that’s not all, India went on to win that match by 59 runs. (Source:- https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/cricket/story/i-still-regret-my-melbourne-walkout-in-1981-sunil-gavaskar-233023-2014-12-27). Although the Player of the Match was Mr. G.R. Vishwanath, another stylish player, Chauhan Sir contributed to the win, as the top scorer in the second innings, with his blistering 85.

Renowned for facing with aplomb, the perfume balls, bowled by Lillee (they were known as the perfume balls because they would hit the nose if a batsman was not careful), Chetan Sir was never able to reach a century, but will always be remembered for giving a solid foundation to the Indian Cricket Team’s final score. Hats off to this cricket wizard. May his pious soul Rest in Peace and may The Almighty give his family members the much-needed strength to bear this unbearable loss.

VACATION-THE ELIXIR OF LIFE

“Some journeys are short, and some are long;

            Etched in the heart, like a melodious song.

But the ones closest to the heart;

            Become your life’s part.

Nature comprising of jungles, beaches, hills & sands;

            Or people residing in cities, villages or islands.

Everything acts as a kaleidoscope of life;

            Away from daily rigmarole and strife.”

(Excerpt from the poem titled “A Journey of Life called India” penned by Shankar Sahay)

In today’s times, when Domestic & International travelling is a farce and nations are moving in and out of lockdown, a topic like Vacation may sound ironical. However, that’s precisely the reason to take up this subject.

More than a couple of decades back, a newly married couple decided that at least once a year they will plan a vacation. Moreover, in order to be crystal clear about the fine print, they also agreed that this vacation will be apart from the frequent visits to their closely knit family and relatives, spread across the length and breadth of the country and can be along with a pilgrimage, but in that case sufficient time should be there for sightseeing and enjoying. As time went by, The Almighty gave them ample opportunities to take up these vacations, not only within the country but also abroad. With every journey, they were able to explore newer places, come across different lifestyles, see the various faces of nature, relish a variety of cuisines and enjoy the close company of each other, away from the daily grind. Moreover, it used to act as an annual tonic of rejuvenation, after consuming which, they were once again fit to take up the challenges of everyday life.

Today, when they look back at these vacations, it fills them with a cocktail of emotions i.e. happiness, satisfaction, achievement, nostalgia and last but not the least, A Strong Hope that when the cloud of Pandemic recedes, once again the sun rays of the vacations will reach them. It’s this hope which makes the lockdown only a passing phase and nothing more than that.

Heartiest Congratulations to H.E. Denisa Gokovi

Heartiest Congratulations to H.E. Denisa Gokovi, my linkedin contact, for receiving the Greatness Award and her induction into the World Book Of Greatness. Carry on the good work. Kudos.

THE WORLD GREATNESS AWARDS:

OSCARS FOR THE WORLD’S GREATEST CIVILITY HUMANITARIANS

Greatness University is to world history as it celebrates its first ever World Greatness Day and host the World Greatness Awards in Great Britain. Greatness Awards from over 40 people from all the 6 continents are to be given on the afternoon of 15th August 2020 at the Glorious Luton Hoo: a hotel tucked away in the outskirts of London. On arrival at the Mansion House where, on 26th June 1948, the wartime British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill addressed over 110,000 people and thanked them for their support during the Second World War; all guests are to receive a VIP welcome.

Amongst the VIP guests in January 2020 was His Excellency Professor Clyde Rivers, the World Civility Spokesperson and Founder of iChange Nations. In his speech as the Guest of Honour, Professor Clyde Rivers referred to the World Greatness Awards as ‘the OSCARS for the World’s Greatest Civility Humanitarians’.  Seated under the elaborate and magnificent Romanov Chapel, one of the Witness of Greatness Mrs Maureen Morgan remarked, ‘There was royalty all over… I was blown away by the prominence. I felt uplifted…’. This was inevitable as Luton Hoo Hotel is a place with a rich British royal, political and cultural history. Since the 16th century, various Kings and Queens of England have stayed at the Hoo including King James I who stayed there under a royal procession and in 1948, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip spent part of their Honeymoon at the Luton Hoo.

Due to the prevailing Coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions worldwide, the upcoming World Greatness Awards are going to be different as some of the awardees will conferred through online platforms such as Greatness TV and broadcast live on Facebook and Youtube.

The World Greatness Awards were created by Professor Patrick Businge and his wife Dr Julian Businge. Professor Patrick Businge who is also the founder of Greatness University said, ‘In a planet where most people live in the sea of sameness, Greatness University looks for people who are doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. These are the civility humanitarians: people who help people and value the people they help.  Professor Patrick Businge goes on to say that people should be celebrated when they are still alive, for more often, people’s greatness is celebrated when they are dead.

Kings, Queens, Entrepreneurs, Humanitarians, Authors, Teachers, Musicians, Innovators and essential workers that have worked through the coronavirus crisis are to receive their greatness awards amid jubilation in various categories: Teachers of Greatness, Masters of Greatness, Creators of greatness, Leading Lights of Greatness, Icons of Greatness, and Legends of Greatness. 

When asked why she chose the Luton Hoo, the co-creator of the World Greatness Awards Dr Julian Businge said, ‘When we first visited Luton Hoo, we found the Mansion House a symbol of greatness, the serene gardens were an oasis of peace, and we specifically chose the Upper Romanov Chapel because of its art that depicted eternal greatness’.

Red carpet interviews will be conducted in former office of the Wartime British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill by the all-time Toastmaster Legend and BBC Presenter Vinette Hoffman Jackson. 

On the same occasion, Greatness University will also induct over 70 people into the first ever World Book of Greatness. Professor Patrick Businge describes it as ‘The Guinness Book of Greatness’. This yearly almanac documents the World’s Greatest and Civility Humanitarians of all times. This will also take place at the Glorious Luton Hoo: the place that continues to be a very popular location with television and used by film makers for films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Enigma, Eyes Wide Shut, Inspector Morse, Nicholas Nickleby, Vanity Fair, Bleak House and now the World Greatness Awards and the official induction into the World Book of Greatness. 

Out of the box thinking with the help of a box

#RETAIL #STRATEGY IN THE TIMES OF #COVID

What can a company like #Ferns&Petals, specializing in Flowers, Plants, Impulsive Purchase products and associated with Event Management do during the #Pandemic. Well, when the customers stop coming to you, start thinking #OutoftheBox. With the festival of #Rakshabandhan, round the corner and the #Corona fears acting as a wall between the siblings, Ferns & Petals comes to the rescue. A small box from the company, which contains a couple of #Rakhis, a card, a cute pouch with roli-chawal and a couple of #Cadbury Chocolates (honestly speaking, more than a couple, as the remaining ones have already been consumed). And lo, the company acts as a messenger of #affection, taking the wishes of #siblings, from one door to another-a job assigned to the pigeons in the past. That’s out of the box thinking with the help of a box. With the festive season about to begin, certainly more boxes remain to be doled out.

LET YOUR TINY TOTS GO & GROW

One of the most impressive scenes in Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra’ dance drama “Sri Ram” is when Rishi Vishwamitr approaches King Dashrath to send his sons Ram & Lakshman with him, so that they may fight and slay the demons, who are disturbing the sage’ peace. Dashrath, like any father, is petrified and is hesitant to send his “kids.” At this point, Rajguru Vashisht assures the king that his upbringing has shown the princes the right path to tread. Moreover, Vishwamitra will also train and educate the royal brothers, which will help in their prospective endeavours.

The concept of 2 births within this birth

Although related to this, but on a different level is a scene from one of my favourite movies “Namak Halaal” where the character played by Om Prakash explains to Arjun Singh vald Bhim Singh vald Dasrath Singh. i.e. our own Big B “इस दुनिया में इंसान दो बार जन्म लेता है। एक बार मां की कोख से निकल कर घर आता है और दूसरी बार घर से निकल कर बाहर की दुनिया में जाता है” (Source:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItHPQi7Vujs) (“In this world, a person is born twice- first time, he comes to home from the womb of his mother and the second time,  he goes from his home to the outside world”).

However, in India, where a person remains to be a “bachcha” (kid) for his parents, even after becoming a father or rather a grandfather as well, it’s difficult to let one’s kids go away. I am told, that once my father, who was in the Ministry of Commerce got an opportunity to go abroad and settle in Japan. Everyone in the family was happy. As was the tradition in those days, he went with his family, from Delhi to our ancestral town Shahjahanpur. When he sought the blessings of my grandfather, the latter stated that he would be happier if my father would stay in India only. Everyone was aghast, but my father agreed to the old man’s wish and refused the deputation to Japan. There was no logical reason for my grandfather to stop my father, but it was a fear of distance and an unknown country to which he wouldn’t like the next gen to be exposed to.

But has that fear completely vanished in today’s times? Sadly no. Taking care of Academics and Placements since the last 20 years, I come across innumerable examples, even prior to the pandemic, where parents are uncomfortable, to the extent of being hysterical, if their children are getting an offer, outside Delhi. Their simple query “He/ she has never stayed alone in life. How will he/ she manage things on his/ her own? He/ she is too small.” Question is, If a 23-year-old person is considered small, when will he/ she grow up? Simple answer, Only when the parents LET GO.

“Nurture the plant to grow into a tree,

The fledglings are ready, set them free.

For the tree must stand on its own footings,

And the birds must fly to new beginnings.”

EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS- APPROPRIATELY

Express your emotions-appropriately

(Image source:- https://getemoji.com/)

Recently I saw a 2018 Bollywood movie “Pataakha.” The flick is about 2 sisters who start facing problems because they are asked to curb their emotions and not express them in the manner that they have been doing it throughout their lives and how this leads to emotional and psychological difficulties.

The plot reminded me of an instance which my father used to narrate, when I was a kid. In the early 50’s, there was a very good lawyer in a small town of India. However, he had this peculiar habit of using cuss words very often. Since he was competent, over a period of time, he attained the position of judge. His seniors advised him that since now his stature in society has improved, he must completely stop using cuss words, at least, at work. He said that is impossible as using cuss words had been his habit since childhood. On hearing this, one of his seniors gave him an advise “When you are sitting on the chair of judge and you feel like abusing the lawyer or the witness or the defendant or anyone else, just put up the cuss word which comes to your mind on a rough sheet of paper with you. Since a judge obviously has lot of papers at his workstation and can always make a note here and there, no one will suspect you. At the end of the day, just pick up that paper, put it in your pocket and on reaching your room, simply destroy it.” The lawyer-turned-judge liked this idea and started following it. However, at his home, the problem increased, as his pent-up emotions started getting bombarded on his domestic helps. As a result, the attrition rate of these servants started rising up like anything, as fed up of his increased cuss words, they started leaving. So, the gentleman came up with a solution. Any new servant being appointed, he would tell him very clearly “Look here. I have a problem of abusing and I can’t overcome it. So apart from your wages, every time I use a cuss word, I will give you a chavanni (an expression used to denote 25 paise).” The servants who accepted this condition were employed and the other applicants were rejected.

Both the movie as well as the incident, emphasize the importance of expressing one’s emotions appropriately. In 1996, when I was a mid-level manager, as part of a training programme, the faculty mentor asked us a question “How many of you weep?” Hardly, 10% of the participants raised hands and the faculty’s response was “You guys are carrying a volcano within yourself and one day, when you won’t be able to control it, you will break down at a wrong time and place. So, express yourself, if not in presence of others, then alone or in front of close relatives or friends.” Last year, during the winter break, when my son returned back from his ongoing MBA programme at a premier institute in Mumbai, I asked him “Have you wept in the last 6 months?” and his response pleasantly surprised me “Papa, at some or the other point, each and every student weeps. Even during the orientation programme, there was a session with our seniors and they mentioned to all of us that stopping your tears is not braveness. So, shed tears, become emotionally normal and carry on with your work.”

The crux of the matter is simple: –

“Don’t carry a volcano to burst at a wrong moment,

Let the emotions be expressed, feelings be vent.

Find someone close to say what you want,

Don’t let pent up feelings come back to haunt.”