Discussion Topic: What is the role that brands play in your life?

The following passage, about a baby’s first brands, is from a famous book by Martin Lindstrom titled “Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy”. According to Lindstrom:

“As a kid growing up in Denmark, by the time I was five I was already preoccupied with a handful of Continue reading “Discussion Topic: What is the role that brands play in your life?”

Riding the Mythical Happy Wave of Facebook

Facebook UpsetsFacebook is not just a social network, it is a phenomenon that has changed our lives in significant ways. At the turn of the century, Google had already begun to fundamentally change the way we searched for information, people, places etc. Google as a brand has won over the hearts and minds of students, critics, academics, professionals, and about anyone who is aware of the Internet. In 2006, a research study conducted in the UK by me, determined that Google enjoyed high brand equity with positive brand associations, high brand awareness and loyalty, and overall brand equity in comparison to its competitors in the search engine product category (Ahmed, 2006). The brand did not have any negative things associated with it. Enter, Facebook! No matter how real it seems, with the familiar and much loved faces of our friends and family, at the end of the day it is a virtual, make-belief world, which lacks reality. For most of us, life has become too busy. The rate race coupled with our relentless pursuit of growth and finding happiness in some distant part of the world has resulted in us being more disconnected with our close ones. It is not surprising that about a billion people are active on Facebook. Continue reading “Riding the Mythical Happy Wave of Facebook”

The Thought Provoking 2012-2013 Table Calendar of FC College

People often wonder how I have been able to commit five years of my life to an organization. Well sometimes I have wondered too. This is the longest time I have worked at any organization in my life and I am still happy working here. This is not very characteristic of people of my generation who are known for changing jobs when faced with the slightest hurdle or sometimes just for a change of scenery and people perhaps. Continue reading “The Thought Provoking 2012-2013 Table Calendar of FC College”

Dawn News Channel Hits Rock Bottom – PART 2

This is PART 2 of my blog entry on the same topic published on November 21st 2010.

The Mast Morning program that aired on Friday, November 12th 2010 takes the trophy for being the most appalling program that Dawn has probably ever aired. Seeing two famous media personalities, Mustansar Hussain Tarar and Faryal Gohar, being interviewed by Juggan Kazim was ironic to say the least. Continue reading “Dawn News Channel Hits Rock Bottom – PART 2”

Dawn News Channel Hits Rock Bottom – PART 1

Dawn News channel, since recently, is becoming a classic case of a mismanaged brand. Many a brand has made the mistake of faltering at managing its equity. Building a brand poses many challenges but managing a brand with reasonable equity can be extremely tough as well. Measurement of brand equity is the hottest area of research in marketing and is something that the best brains in marketing worldwide are struggling with. So measurement is tricky and challenging alright. But managing a brand with high equity is no rocket science. So why is Dawn losing out on its hard earned equity at such a rapid pace?

Dawn news channel is a brand that had become an integral part of our lives for some of us in Pakistan. Dawn is the oldest and most widely read English newspaper in the country. It was founded in 1941 by none other than Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself. In 2007, Dawn launched the first 24 hour English news channel. Interestingly 2007 marked my return from the UK and Dawn news channel was a fresh change from PTV News and all the other local news channels. I only remembered watching BBC and CNN in Pakistan to get credible news that is presented sensibly by professional journalists. Dawn news channel offered the best mix of well-balanced local and international news. The news casters, reporters, and hosts of programs had fresh and well-groomed faces, professional attire, and amazing accents. Everything about the channel from 2007 till sometime in 2010 promised class, truthfulness, a sense of uprightness, and taste. From the news coverage to a Taste of Fusion to No Reservations by Kamiar Rokni – the channel had a consistency which few brands can dream of offering to their customers. The harshest critics of Dawn newspaper referred to it as “boring” and the same for Dawn news channel referred to it as “elitist” in comparison to Express news channel, which was launched only recently in 2009. This perception was due to the fact that it seemed to cater primarily to the well-educated, urban citizens of Pakistan. Seemingly Dawn news channel had been struggling for sponsorships and some cable operators were not even providing Dawn news to their subscribers due to limited viewership. So clearly all was not well in the house of Dawn Group of Newspapers.

Dawn’s answer to some of the problems it was facing with its brand was rather shocking. In the summer of 2010, Dawn switched its English transmission completely to Urdu – everything from the news to the programs is in Urdu now. Dawn went so far in catering to the mass market that it even changed its morning show “First Blast” to “Mast Mornings with Juggan Kazim”. The two programs are as opposite to each other as they can possibly be. Mast mornings is as frivolous as the name suggests. Personally speaking, this particular program has changed the brand personality of Dawn for the worse. The print ad of the program with Juggan Kazim doing interesting antics convinced me to see the program. This is how watching Mast Mornings became an agenda on my already overwhelming to-do list. The first program was a shocker of sorts. Juggan was dressed for a wedding with earrings to match (http://plixi.com/p/55680158). The guests were none other than Syed Noor and Sana from the local film industry. No surprise there since Juggan will be appearing in films soon. The program was good at one thing. It was clear to me that Dawn channel had changed too dramatically, too soon and definitely for the worse.