Mitron, the Indian answer to TikTok has sadly been unmasked – after 5 million downloads – as code from Pakistan. The app has now been removed due to security wobbles. An app which allegedly removes “Made in China” apps from your phone has also been delisted by Google due to security issues. It is good that Indians are trying hard to create software products – this has been an oft-discussed challenge since the 90s – why a country that is a software services powerhouse is hard put to create a global blockbuster app or product. We do have some India-specific products that are really successful but it is rare that they go global.

This was a question that used to repeatedly come up for Infosys in the 90s and noughties and the explanation was that the rhythm and financing of a product is very different from that of a service. It is also the big difference between B2B and B2C – consumer products require reach to succeed as they are usually low-margin/high-volume, and reach is rather expensive. Yesterday I conducted a webinar on marketing for the social sector, and again the dreaded question of “how much should you spend on marketing” came up. And disappointment that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. But the point is that successful startups should start with “how much can I spend on marketing” and work out their business case. The mindshare leads to marketshare which leads to profitshare rule holds.

As digital penetration increases and apps are both ubiquitous and national assets, we should be rethinking self-reliance to include digital assets. The US President issued an Executive Order which essentially says that if they curate posts, the likes of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc should be considered as publishers rather than aggregators. This was partly triggered by Twitter flagging some of the President’s tweets as violent, and it shows the power of such channels, and the desire of the parent countries to have some say in their operations. To give you some idea of how media shapes the narrative, the Washington Post wrote an article showing how Western media would have covered the recent protests in Minneapolis if they had happened in another country.

Many US media and entertainment companies like Apple Music, Spotify, Grindr united to support Blackout Tuesday – a day to “listen, reflect, and educate’. There has been discussion on why Indian brands are rarely as vocal on social issues. For one, brands pursue issues where their employees feel strongly and at least a large part of their audience will not actively hate it.  Secondly, if you look at the Hofstede Country Index you’ll see that we differ hugely in areas like individualism and power distance. So we’re more likely to conform than to rebel.

In Infosys, in the days when international calls were horribly expensive we were told to ‘connect’ with our US team members more often as they were feeling left out of discussions. We did as asked and the next feedback we got was that we were very rude! What? Then we found that it was because we started our calls with no preamble, no, “how was your weekend”, no “take care’ at the end etc. It was partly because the meter was ticking but partly because in India it is acceptable to respond to a call with “bolo” and rush into the transactional details. Cost of calling has dropped to zero but our cultural habits haven’t changed as much. Work from home has shown that our jobs can be done remotely and therefore from any part of the world. What are the implications of this for you? Are you the global best? asks Avinash M B

In 2000, the big thing was that “everyone can be a publisher” with the rise of blogs. The last decade was that “everyone can be an influencer”. Both trends continue but in order to monetize you have to be entrepreneurial with above-average skills. Karan Johar did a really cool “makeover’ for his birthday using Godrej Hair Dye. A big step forward was that it was declared as promotional and yet came across as more authentic than many shills that are not. User Generated Ads are really lucrative with the top folks getting upwards of Rs 10L per instagram post, and of course videos would be considerably more. Not everyone is an influencer of course. Just 11 months ago, when we could still travel without a cocoon I had talked about defining the influencer community at the Travel.Earth Digital Influencer Convention Kota Kinabalu.

Speaking of influencers, Kylie Jenner parlayed her fame and got declared as a billionaire by the time she was 21. Now, rather naively I assumed that Forbes sorta did the research and decided you were a billionaire (or not). I never really considered that it would be a massive PR effort to get on to the rich lists. But of course, it would enhance your brand value as an influencer to be on one so obviously it is worth the investment. Anyhoo. Apparently she lied and Forbes is now loudly calling her one. However on the back of all that fame she was able to sell her cosmetics firm to Coty at a valuation of around $1.2 billion earlier this year, and is now an almost billionaire at $900 million net worth. (Incidentally before Donald Trump became President he was battling Forbes to be valued at $10 billion against the $4.5 billion they agreed upon) I’d imagine that in India the top 400 would rather not exaggerate their wealth, given the huge inequality we live with. (Top 10% of India control 77% of its wealth, according to Oxfam.)

Speaking of which, just content is no longer sufficient you also need to show up in search. SEO has gone from a value add website builders used to offer to a full-fledged industry. Here’s an ebook with 10 tips from global leaders in SEO on what to look for.

This week’s newsletter is rather action-packed, so take a break with this quiz on Indian soft drinks!

If you enjoyed reading this I do hope you’ll consider sharing it with your friends.  Would much appreciate it.

10 SEO Experts share common SEO mistakes they see Brands making
SEO is the one place where Page 3 is a bad thing.  Are you doing everything right? In this ebook we bring advice from 10 global experts.
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Are you the global best?
During a discussion on one of the webinars, Jessie Paul the host mentioned that for certain sectors like education, fitness, and wellness you expose yourselves to global competition the moment you say that you will transition from offline space to online space.
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This week’s ‘Mind your Marketing’ in The Hindu and The Hindu BusinessLine is an interaction with Vikas Gupta, Vice-President – Marketing, at Flipkart

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Cyient Appoints Meenu Bagla as Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer


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