It might not be the right time to say it but I believe the $100 billion valuation of Facebook might be a bubble which would burst soon and will burn the pockets of many. I have read that the number of registrations is increasing but these are the people who are new to the concept and are excited. The people who have experienced have are getting bored of it and moving on.
The very idea was to stay connected to friends. Most of the people have a lot of friends on Facebook, a lot of people in their friend list I would say. Spending a lot of time on the website means you are spending less time on other activities including hanging out with your real friends. Everybody wants a couple of close friends but Facebook is distancing you from those friends and your subconscious mind may not like it.
It has become more of a business tool. What do you do most on Facebook? Express your feelings with the world? Wouldn’t you like to do it with your closer group with either? Share pictures, videos and other things? Remember how forward text messages were a fad once? The point I am trying to make is that people are moving on. There are so many updates everyday that you don’t feel like checking all. Moreover you have to filter the meaningful ones from a clutter of game score achievements, news articles, forward messages, pictures, videos, brand advertisements and what not. It’s getting boring. Then you have advertisements. In the status messages and on the side bars and we don’t like advertisements in our private groups. Is the company so desperate on making money with advertisements? I believe it is losing more than it is making. It is no longer private or interesting. Instead it is noisy, commercial and public now. Privacy is another issue.
Facebook has a lot of data now, a lot of personal data. One of the biggest sources of income for the company can be to sell this data. But will the data be useful for the companies. I say, to the extent their customers are still hooked to the website. Once they start to move away, the companies will have to do more to retain their customers.
Google+ which has been investing a lot and trying hard to rub shoulders with Facebook may actually be wasting a lot of money. By the time they reach close to where Facebook is today the whole concept of online social networking, what it stands for today, might be antiquated. People would go back to small personal groups and social networking websites might serve all other purposes bar social networking.
Titan, the Tata enterprise, has been quite aggressive when it comes to innovation. The company now has a presence in eyewear and precise engineering segment apart from its flagship products, watches and jewellery. It is also experimenting with non leather bags, belts and other accessories, pens, steel and even silver. The company wants to get into silver watches and jewellery so it is currently working to perfect a technology that will ensure that the silver does not get tarnished. It has started a new chain, Helios, where it is also retailing competing brands like Fossil and Seiko. Good quality and design has been the winning combination for the company. Now the company is looking at newer categories, especially those categories where there is no large organized player.
Yum! Restaurants, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, expect revenues of $1 billion by 2015. The company has been investing heavily to create a robust innovation pipeline. Its innovation centre, located in Gurgaon houses teams kitchen labs with teams of chefs, hotel management graduates and other food technologists. The company has innovation days where various stake holders and departments come together under one roof and they have only one agenda in hand – out of box ideation. The centre helps the company to perform tests before launching a product in a controlled manner. The centre has created many new flavours.
For the PC brand Lenovo, Bengaluru is its global marketing hub. A team of 150 comprising of professionals from marketing, creative, software, analytics and research teams work at this hub. Understanding the marketing opportunity and then creating a brief and ultimately the product demand is what this team is responsible for. This team works closely with Oglivy and has been credited with working on campaigns like ‘What’s your idea of fun’ and ‘Sketchpad’. The team is also involved in understand Lenovo’s customer by looking at their purchase behaviour, transaction history, frequency of purchase, value of purchase and such. The hub’s importance for Lenovo can be gauged from the fact that it handles over 5,000 marketing jobs annually from across the globe.
Google has a creative lab too. Although the company spends pennies on advertising it is pound wise. The creative team is always striving to rethink marketing across different kind of media- some of which doesn’t even exist. The team comprising of programmers, writers, storytellers, film makers, art directors and digital designers is responsible for marketing Google’s products which includes search, Android and everything in between. If something needs creativity, this team has to do it. The company invested heavily in new forms of advertising last year. Television ads were aired for the web browser Chrome and ‘Gone Google’ campaign was a big success. The important thing to note is that even though Google has achieved world domination it has started investing in advertising.
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It has no leaps and it has no bounds. It has swept away the traditional R&D systems. It tinkers and toys with ideas and people. It involves black belts who may eat and sleep very little but who think a lot. Every company big or small wants it. It makes sure that everybody notices it. It grows today and gets old tomorrow. It is outstanding and has always been the big winner. It is called INNOVATION.
Innovation has redefined the R&D systems of many companies. Companies like Google, Renault and Lenovo have innovation labs where scientists and engineers work together putting hierarchy aside. Mahindra, Coca-Cola, Yum! Foods and the likes have joined the bandwagon and other major companies are soon to follow.
This page is dedicated to innovation. In this page I would like to present some companies that have been doing a lot keeping innovation in mind.
Renault, a French automobile major, has a centre dedicated to intuitive design, a concept that is in force in emerging economies like ours. Located in a chaotic suburb in Mumbai, the Renault studio is filled with designers and modellers who are engrossed in designing and creating mock car models. It is one of the six studios that Renault has across the globe. The logic behind this is that each market has its own needs and India is one market they cannot ignore. But the studio has only been able to launch one car, the Logan, in 3 years. The company however is looking to launch 2 new models this year in the Indian market.
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