Now Trending…

What is the one word that describes “change” effectively, positively and instantly?

There could be many answers to this question. Our answer though, is grounded in the tangible.

Trend!

Each trend is a precursor to change. Or the change itself!

To extrapolate, there was a time when women were expected, and therefore, portrayed as doing household chores everywhere- in ads, films, etc. But then Julia Child appeared on TV wearing pearls and cooking Boeuf Bourguinon. Et Voila, a trend was created- which changed the way women viewed themselves.


 

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Or that time when people had long standing careers in law or as a professor, and they never seemed to veer out of that cycle. And suddenly we had Steve Jobs with his completely different set of beliefs or Bill Gates, who changed the way the world operates with their ideas. Another trend that is still inspiring people.


 

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In a world where communication is instant, trends though, have become fleeting. Trends change with the speed of a hyper aware fashionista who changes dresses 3 times a day at least. And people are engaging themselves, without motivation, with trends. Online and concurrently offline, trends manifest in tweets, shares, likes, mentions, pins, actions, decisions, ideas, industry.

At IntelligenceNODE, being a bid data analytics organization specializing in retail, we pay special attention to trends. And we have come across a simple yet important question from retailers when it comes to trends today- how do you quantify a trend that is likely to change in the next (approximately) 60 minutes? And how do you further capitalize on such a trend?

We have had the privilege of associating with many etailers; learning their opinions, ideas and insights have given us the opportunity to study trends.

Putting this into perspective, let us look at one of the quickest “trend amplifiers” in the cloud sphere today- Twitter. You may have seen the various hashtags on twitter that certify trends.


 

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In the graph, circa 2013, 33% respondents paid attention to trending topics on twitter. Twitter has more than 302 million active users, monthly. And 500 million tweets are sent out every day. Out of this overall user base, 30% is in the USA alone. Look again- 33% of those users, in 2013, were influenced by trending topics.

Let us not forget that these trends are in real time or life, if you will. Tweeple all over the world tweet about a particular event, happenstance, etc. And we go on from there…

And twitter is not the only thing that inspires this “trending” psychology in netizens! Apart from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. apps like Snapchat, Pinterest, etc, are cropping up daily. Be it AirB&B, or TripAdvisor, Fitbay or Shoefitr, everyone wants a part of this trending pie.

There is one cardinal rule about trends- Trends create trends.

Now back to the famous questions:

How do you, the retailer, recognize key trends in a boundary blurring world like ours?

The journey from an idea to a trend is marked by various stages.

  • Ideation or Product creation; which involves a whole industry in and of itself.
  • Exhibiting the product: showing the great points of the product, and the product itself, through events.
  • Content Generation: when people other than the creators of the product create stories, utility ideas or opinions about the product and share it- online & offline.
  • Trendification: The product becomes a part of popular culture- translation- TREND.

And this journey is visible only to a few. Others can see just parts of it. The best way to see how tangible a trend is- numbers and effects. There are many tools to measure the effect that social media has on trends and trend creation. Names like KissMetrics, Social Bakers, offer reports and services of this nature.

There is another way, though, to arrive at a decision regarding which so called trends you should follow as a retailer. A holistic view that allows you to get an analysis of the digital atmosphere as well as the strategies and trends of your competitors. You can benchmark pricing, discount, catalogs as well as logistics.

There is another way, though, to arrive at a decision regarding which so called trends you should follow as a retailer. A holistic view that allows you to get an analysis of the digital atmosphere as well as the strategies and trends of your competitors. You can benchmark pricing, discount, catalogs as well as logistics.

The secret blend that gives you such results = your inventory data+ your social plug-in data+ curated data (from various sources) + a little brilliant analysis.

That’ it!

Recognizing the key trends that you MUST take away, add to or innovate with, happen to be right at your fingertips. We know you can just reach out and take it!

And finally, how do you, the retailer, capitalize on these famous trends, when they are so fleeting?

To answer this question, we have an interesting story for you. We call it the Code of Content.

In this story, a European car manufacturer wanted to sell a new, different and smaller car in the USA. They contracted a successful ad agency to do the honors. The end result, according to this car manufacturer, they said, had to be twofold: they wanted profits and to be recognized. To rephrase that in today’s business lingo- they wanted ROI & brand recall. Their consumer surveys in the USA showed them that people were not very enthusiastic about their new car.

The advertiser sent a couple of designers to the factory in Europe. Once they came back armed with knowledge and information, they created this:


 

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The car manufacturer: Volkswagen; The Advertiser: David Ogilvy.

As you can see, it is not trends you “capitalize” on. Trends capitalize on you! You have immense power- to influence people- with brilliant strategy; amazing content and great deals. People want what you are offering. Isn’t that why you are in business?

It follows therefore, that when people are actively creating trends, they are hoping, expecting even, that you the retailers and service providers will give them well made products to support their pins, tweets, shares, likes, etc.

You can make brilliant strategies from the insights that have been derived through all that data. Fringe has become a trend at LFW? Who makes the trend global in less than a week, then? You the retailer! And we support you every step of the way!

New Year Resolutions…

It is 2015. And people are reappearing, back into the moulds of accepted work-life balance, trying to get back to the mundane. The parties and celebrations are done with; even the hangovers are receding. The revelry that embodies the holiday season is dying down.

After all the binge eating and binge drinking and general binging, it is now time to ‘detox.’ And what better way to do so than make resolutions!

The New Year brings hope of a better life, new chances and newer opportunities to people. And they make their resolution, promises to themselves and others, of how they will change, grow, improve in the New Year.

Full of enthusiasm and positivity, we end up deciding how the new year will shape up to be much better for us, and how we will make sure to be instrumental in the process of self change. A few days of adhering staunchly towards our goal increases this feeling. And then, poof, everything goes pear shaped again.

Continue reading “New Year Resolutions…”

Business in Celebration!

It’s Christmas Eve. The whole world is waiting with bated breath to welcome ‘the messiah.’ All the lines have been erased to witness the birth of Christ- the savior. This in itself is a miracle. Even before he arrives, he brings with him joy and peace.

Jesus lived centuries ago. And still his words, his very presence lingers in the hearts of people all over the world. And in this atmosphere of hope and happiness is the reason that Christmas is such an amazing time for us.

Businesses start preparations months in advance to cash in on Christmas. But we believe differently. We believe us and by extension most business owners are engaged in spreading the currency of love and joy.

Most businesses that survive in the long term end up adapting to their own changing sets of consumers. But with ecommerce becoming almost mainstream, and the huge amount of choices they provide, it has become necessary to find newer ways to retain customer attention.

Grabbing eyeballs may be easy even, but getting them curious enough to actually continue to look at a particular product or service is the real challenge. The virtual world is like a quagmire of options- it entices your consumers, yes; but it distracts at the same time.

With IoT proliferating and growing, it is becoming too easy to gather data. But converting that data into actionable insights is another challenge. Until now, we have had to rely on surveys and other statistical but human methods to get to the bottom of problems.

Continue reading “Business in Celebration!”

Birds of a Feather…

In ancient India, when temples or mosques had to be built, people would come together and donate resources or services for the Lord. This tradition is seen in many cultures. In fact, crowds have come together even today to build temples in India.

The famous ‘Akshardham,’ the temples dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan in Delhi (India) and Ahmedabad (India) is a prime example. People contributed in various ways to lay the foundations of these vast monuments.

The idea behind all this, though, is constantly being reinvented in so many words. Today, we call it ‘crowdfunding.’ These days we see and hear this word a lot: crowdfunding. It is easily explained. Crowdfunding is the collection of finance to sustain an initiative from a large pool of backers—the “crowd”—usually made online by means of a web platform.

Continue reading “Birds of a Feather…”

Now trending in Apparel Category

Santa will arrive soon, bringing with him Christmas cheer and happiness. The best parts of any celebration, especially at this time of the year, are gifts. Gifts, while spreading love and joy, also happen to be our very own brand of special!

This season, we, from IntelligenceNODE, bring you some popular gift categories and how they are influencing life in general. We found that the fashion and fashion accessories category was the most popular as far as gifting on the subcontinent is concerned, with a 19.2% rise in sales from the previous year.

We use the unique features of our portal to gather intel about ‘now trending.’

It seems jumpsuits are on a steady line. But dresses seem to be fluctuating, depending mainly on discounts and sales.


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Also, dress and suit fabrics, a must have during the wedding season, especially in South Asia, are on an upwards spiral.


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As you can see, there is a definite shift in the trending categories, since the 2nd December. We believe that there is a definite surge in the apparel category; and the numbers match this as well.

It is raining deals and offers; with many more options than ever before as far as gifting is concerned. This just proves that as our networks continue to grow, so also will our options. And we at IntelligenceNODE believe that all seem to be of one mind in this endeavor.

 

The Power of the Name

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Shakespeare has famously quoted (in Romeo & Juliet), “What’s in a name; A rose by any other name will smell just as sweet.”

But we believe, au contraire, that names are very powerful. Names give a person a sense of power over themselves. A name in itself is a reflection of the various vibrations that are created during the time of birth.

Most religions have some kind of a naming ceremony, once a child is born. Today there are many people in the world who do not follow religions strictly. But then comes the vast majorities, which actually do things within the auspices of religious conduct.

In most cultures, names are chosen with thought and care. There are elaborate ceremonies just to give a name to the newborn. Christian babies are baptized or christened. Hindu babies get names based on lunar and astrological calculations and moon signs. Babies in China may get plain, ugly names till a more opportune time in life when they will not be influenced by evil spirits.

All this thought that goes into the simple act of naming a person; a name becomes a person’s identity. The most recognizable feature about a being. A name too has roots. A name began with the evolution of language itself. And language is inherent to our culture.

Names cannot be given lightly; for they become one’s identity. But beyond that, it is fascinating to realize that the same name was held by someone else before. It could be one’s ancestors, or someone completely unknown to that soul. But they too gave some meaning to the name.

A name became powerful because it was taken by many who came and went. They gave their bodies the name. That is even why some names are referred to as evil and are not bestowed on anyone.

A name though, is an agency that provides ownership of oneself. Names differentiate and names create and names change as does the world we live in. But names also become an illusion that takes us away from the eternal truth.

The truth about the unchanging nature of the soul. We humans start attaching so much importance to the illusory world around us that we forget to look inside. The soul has no name and is never changing. The soul is a part of the large, divine energy that we all are made of.

Whether one believes it or not, there is a power that creates us. And that power is constantly flowing within our physical bodies. The day that the person ends, the name does not; it continues to provide qualities of strength and perseverance to the eternal soul. A name will become a legacy that one leaves behind.

Because all names are forms of the divine.

No Poverty!?

Recently, in their annual letter, Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates predict that there will be no poor countries by 2035. In their foundation’s just-released annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates attempt to debunk this pervasive myth in development economics: ‘Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.’
Sounds like a dream for many nations. But if this letter is to be believed, then this prediction may turn into reality. You may take this as one of those ‘glass half full,’ moments. Why should we be pessimistic about our world? It would be so much better if dream up a world where financial equality exists.According to Bill Gates, and I quote, “by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labour forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.”


 

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This seems far from just an optimistic outlook. It seems like well thought out optimism. This does not dispel the fact that poverty will still be a problem. There will still be poor people, but the most of them will live in self sufficient countries. This predicts a shift to a world that will be better than our world today.

According to Gates, global poverty has evolved drastically. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there, as is Gabon. And that no-man’s-land between rich and poor countries has been filled in by China, India, Brazil, and others.

So the easiest way to respond to the myth that poor countries are doomed to stay poor is to point to one fact: They haven’t stayed poor. Many — though by no means all — of the countries we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.

Speaking to Forbes Magazine’s editor Randall Lane, Mr Gates said there will soon come a point where “you’ll have to give a reason why a country is poor”. He said that while it is difficult to make predictions for nations where politics hinders progress (naming North Korea as an example), for almost everyone else there are “good examples to learn from”.

But is it too optimistic to believe that poverty will not be a global crisis point in the next two decades? Is too much wishful thinking that we will see more and more people successfully living their lives and out of economic disparity?

At IntelligenceNODE we believe that with the world becoming more and more digital, the chances of success in this endeavour are quite high. Maybe we will finally get rid of beggars resulting in a drop in crime. Maybe we are doomed to just wishful thinking….

Nevertheless, the power of all our positive thoughts may just remove all disparities!

Advertising: All about Perceptions…

If we look at the history of the world, there has always been one constant – advertising! We have constantly advertised products, services, people, ideas, perceptions, etc.

Of course, today, advertising is all about selling products or services. But is not any kind of propaganda, prejudices, even ideas- a kind of advertisement?

We equate ads with the ones we see on billboards and T.V., hear on radio, etc. The term, ‘advertising,’ has been used by modern day businessmen as an out for selling their product. Students learn advertising in schools and colleges. Special positions are created for them as well. There is a thriving industry that revolves around the term.

Continue reading “Advertising: All about Perceptions…”

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

A Spanish woman recently came to India for the first time and visited quite a few Indian cities. At a private film screening in Mumbai, she was heard saying, “India is full of S**t!” None of the Indians present protested this statement. In fact, quite a few actually agreed with her. Recently Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- an initiative akin to the Ice Bucket Challenge, meant to clean the country of the garbage that we are so used to seeing around us.

Continue reading “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”

LGBT Rights in India

Are we really that entrenched in tradition that even when we have taken two steps forward, we seem to take another step back? This is the question many Indians asked after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the LGBT rights issue in India…

The SC, in an astounding move, dragged India back to the Victorian era, by criminalizing homosexuality. This controversial move by the Supreme Court succeeded in breaking the hopes of many gay couples who were hoping to be joined together legally.

Human Rights Campaign which calls itself the largest civil rights organization to achieve equality for the LGBT community reports that Corporate America updated its “non-discrimination policies and benefits packages well ahead of federal mandates to support LGBT employees and their families” and hundreds of companies, including Nationwide, Citigroup, Groupon, Procter & Gamble, Hershey’s and US Airways, joined a public coalition to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act “a proposed federal law that would provide consistent nationwide legal protections from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”


 

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The decision by the court to reinstate a ban on same-sex relationships overturned four years ago by a lower court represents a “significant step backwards for India” and violates international law, Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner on human rights, said. This just proves what a long way India still has to go to achieve equality. In other countries like India too, where governments haven’t exactly been progressive, companies have broken new ground on promoting LGBT equality.

The idea behind this upsurge of empathy by corporate institutions for different civil rights issues can be credited to CSR (corporate social responsibility). The SC’s decision reflects a very conservative mindset- something many Indians feel they have outgrown with the abolition of practises like child marriage and sati.

Is it amoral to find love? Gay rights have always been a matter of controversy in India. This unpopular ruling by the Supreme Court has stunned the gay rights activists and people at large as well. Vikram Seth, the Indian author, spoke of many gay men in India living lives of “quiet desperation”.

At IntelligenceNODE, we believe that business inexorably is tied with civil rights. Civil rights give society a semblance of freedom and make people believe they have control. Living your life according to your wishes is something we all have in common. Why should the LGBT community be any different?