21 October 2019 03:49



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VICE Media Group, the world’s largest independent youth media company, is pleased to announce the appointment of senior media executive Rohit Tugnait as Commercial Director for its India territory.

Tugnait will lead the commercial teams based in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and will be responsible for growing all lines of business within VICE’s India region, including VICE Digital, Studios, Content Partnerships and VIRTUE, the creative agency borne out of VICE.

With nearly twenty years of experience across youth-oriented and culturally relevant media platforms, Tugnait has deep expertise in business strategy, content solutions and delivering both growth and revenue. As National Head of MTV, Tugnait led the channel’s brand solution wing and was a critical player in the launch and development of marquee properties including Coke Studio at MTV and the acclaimed Royal Stag Unplugged Series. Prior to joining VICE, Tugnait led the business division at 101india.com, a youth-focused digital media site aimed at connecting urban Indian audiences. There, he drove collaborations with television networks and OTT platforms in addition to licensing content on global platforms.

"VICE leads with purpose-driven content" says Rohit Tugnait, Commercial Director, VICE India. “I'm extremely excited to be a part of a global digital media company that is the go-to destination for advertisers who want to be relevant, effective and a part of the youth conversation".

Tugnait’s appointment comes after a string of recent award wins including the Kyoorius Creative Awards and the Digipub Awards in India for both original and branded content.

“India’s dynamic, engaged and outspoken youth make the country a priority market for VICE, whose mission is to amplify youth voices.” said Nilesh Zaveri, COO, VICE Asia Pacific (APAC). “Having someone with the depth of commercial experience that Rohit has, will further bolster our India momentum behind the successful portfolio of partnerships that we have built over the past 18 months with companies such as Budweiser, PepsiCo, Amazon Prime, Myntra and One Plus.”

Tugnait will be based out of VICE’s Mumbai office, where he joins the leadership team led by Samira Kanwar, Head of Content for VICE’s APAC region. His appointment is effective immediately.

With pretty much every industry and every product segment being saturated, standing out as a brand seems like a very tough job. Chances are all your marketing meetings are sprinkled with clichés like “out-of-the-box”, “quirky” to begin the list. Turns out there is a way for a brand to stand out, despite the competition and clutter.

The answer to building a brand that is successful despite clutter and traffic lies in building niche brands. This is precisely where Niche Branding steps in. The brand is one of the most important assets that any company can have. Without it, consumers and buyers are free to opt for businesses/products and services that seem cheaper or in favor of better-known brands.

As global markets tighten, niche markets offer the ability to dominate by taking advantage of the loyal customer base that niche brands can create. While branding should be about the company and the brand, it really isn’t. It’s about how customers perceive the company. Branding should be about the consumers, who eventually become brand loyalists pushing the brand message ahead.

Broad brands versus niche or deep brands

While broad brands appeal to a large base of audience, niche brands go a step extra to create deep relationships with their consumers. Brands that solve a very particular problem/have a unique proposition compared to brands that are more generic and broader in their service offerings, are likely to gain a much stronger base of loyal customers. With more motivated customers, any marketing activity resonates to a much deeper level with higher elements of brand recall and affability. Deep or Niche brands are the ones that appeal to a much narrower set of people, but they create a lot of value for those people.

Take the prominent beauty and bath brand, Lush for instance.

The popular beauty brand, Lush develops eco-friendly and organic bath range, that’s ideally suited for those suffering from sensitive skin. This means that the brand has developed a specific product to suit a defined target audience. This is key to niche branding. The brand goes an extra mile by engaging with their customers as they organize workshops from time to time. This means that the brand has developed a certain loyalty with their customers, as they interact with their customers on one-on-one interaction, through the workshops.

How about the computing brand Apple?

Back in the time, when Apple created a computing contraption, it operated on the Macintosh system. The product came built-in with a sophisticated firewall that would keep viruses at bay. This meant users didn’t have to invest in the anti-virus post the one time spend on the machine. The sophisticated firewall is a problem that addressed the woes of a number of users back then. Especially when they work with high-end confidential data, they couldn’t afford losing the same. So how did Apple penetrate a market that was rife with the competition?

Apple relies on simplicity. They have strapping imagery on all their packaging and advertisements that does all the talking. Their packaging is clean and clutter-free. Simplicity. A total contrast to the flashy imagery incorporated by other brands. This also extends to the Apple packaging.

Niche Branding enables your customers to take your brand ahead

It is essential to run a tooth comb through the market in order to identify your target audience. A narrower niche will not only receive the product better, but will help deliver the product or service to a bigger target audience. By this time the brand was established. Take the Apple iPod for instance. When the gadget was launched it created a wave in the market and converted ardent Discman users to becoming iPod enthusiasts. Your product or service can be termed as ‘unique’ if it duly addresses the problems faced by your target audience, and even foresees issues from a futuristic perspective.
Keeping in touch with your consumers through a number of activities will not only enhance brand loyalty but will help one to comprehend issues with your existing product or service better. It gives you an opportunity to make for a better comeback on the product.

End Note

Niche branding is a key asset to every organization. It is a strategy that can be successfully incorporated for any business variation both online and offline. Entrepreneurs can advantageously use it and aspiring counting houses to further their business. Enhanced brand loyalty proves to serve as a wild card in the long run, that could foster heightened digits and better brand recall. Niche branding is connecting with your audience (customers and prospects) in a targeted way that focuses on their needs and circumstances, and not necessarily on you or your product.


Written by Hiren Panchal,Co-Founder of Litmus Branding

"Insight-driven storytelling that evokes strong human emotions connects with audiences today. Given the media and political environment that exists globally, audiences are looking for real, authentic and impactful ideas that will empower and lead to change. Brands who understand the pulse of their customers will be able to create strong, powerful bonds with their customers for life." Said Priscilla Selwine, Executive Vice President Global | Gutenberg

In an interview with MediAvataar India, Priscilla shared her views on striking a balance between audience and marketer's needs.

Here is the complete Q&A...

MediAvataar: How has marketing evolved over the last decade?
There are three ways in which marketing has evolved over the last ten years.
1. The integration of technology and marketing– with the rapid changes in technology, marketers have now had to adapt to new ways of interacting and engaging with their target audiences. It is an opportunity for brands who are at the forefront of these changes to adopt innovative ways of engagement with their key customers.
2. The increased focus on hyper-personalisation – Customers today expect brands to talk to them as individuals, addressing their specific need at the moment when that need arises. This behavioural change in today’s evolved customers has pushed marketers to embrace technology. They aim to provide hyper-personalised brand experiences by delivering the right message using the right platform.
3. The need for authentic brand experiences – In today’s world, brands are no longer two-dimensional. They have a voice, they have a tone and they have a personality to live up to, consistently. Customers expect brands to provide consistent and cohesive brand experiences across different platforms and to do so in a way that is authentic and representative of the brand’s true self.

MediAvataar: How do you look at digital media being the protagonist in any campaign?
There are three building blocks to any campaign. There is the content/ idea/message that marketers want to communicate, the platform where the idea comes alive and the promotion of the idea itself to get the word out. Digital plays a key role by empowering marketers with data and insights that help us power up ideas and craft campaigns that connect with customers. In some cases, digital platforms become core and central in the manifestation of the idea itself by leveraging technology to bring the idea to life. And last, digital gives marketers the power to reach the right audience at the right time at the click of a button.

MediAvataar: What are the strengths of today’s marketers, and what are the weaknesses?
The ability to understand the changing social, digital and technology landscape is a powerful tool for marketers. They know that in today’s world, this change is going to be a constant that they would have to master. On the flip side, marketers who are not familiar with new emerging platforms and don’t understand the new marketing landscape will struggle to stay relevant.

MediAvataar: Tell us about some of the campaigns that have stayed with you.
From the archives, the campaign that I still believe has the power to bring a change is the #likeaagirl campaign by always. It set out to turn a phrase that was used as an insult into an empowering message. The most recent campaign, the #bulletproofvoices campaign by the United Nations, is attempting to elevate the anonymity of human rights defenders in Cambodia who have been murdered to silence their ideas. I hope the campaign will be able to achieve what it’s attempting to do. Apart from that, I do love the #MaiBhiUmpire campaign that our team created for Kodak during the ICC world cup 2019. The #StayAhead campaign for Mphasis that has garnered numerous awards over the last couple of months is another one worth citing. This campaign draws from the insight that organisations are looking for partners that can work with them to help them stayahead of the next big tech. Both these campaigns delivered to the brief and identified and addressed real-world business goals.

MediAvataar: Content is king! – Your views?
Content is the backbone of any marketing programme. At Gutenberg, we understand this well. We have a horizontal-focused content team that builds strong narratives, taking different customer cohorts from the point of awareness to the last mile of a decision and beyond. We know that by mapping content narratives to the customer journey, we can not only connect with our audience but also use content marketing to deliver results for the brand.

MediAvataar: What do you think connects with the audience?
Insight-driven storytelling that evokes strong human emotions connects with audiences today. Given the media and political environment that exists globally, audiences are looking for real, authentic and impactful ideas that will empower and lead to change. Brands who understand the pulse of their customers will be able to create strong, powerful bonds with their customers for life.

MediAvataar: How should any brand approach integrated marketing?
Integrated marketing helps brands leverage the power of data and insights to build strong brand narratives that take their audiences through the customer journey by leveraging the right media. Marketers can use different media channels based on customers’ behavioural and media consumption insights. They can then put out a cohesive brand message that can be both powerful and impactful. An integrated marketing approach enables marketers to use technology to map the action and reaction of their audience segments through that journey by using metrics that measure this impact. Marketers who don’t apply an integrated mindset to their marketing programmes lose out on the power of the whole. They put out disparate brand messages that don’t yield a unified outcome and goal.

MediAvataar: List five trends that will make IMC more important than ever.
1. Personalisation will be a critical differentiator for brands who want to continue to engage with their audiences.
2. AI and chatbot technology will enhance how brands engage with customers, providing access and engagement at scale as well as permanently altering customers’ expectations on response times from a brand.
3. Data and insights will continue to guide and inform marketers on storytelling and building impactful narratives mapped to the customer journey.
4. Video and voice would be critical to incorporate in integrated marketing programmes, fuelling engagement and conversions.
5. AR and VR will continue to bring out the ‘unexpected’ in brand experiences and help marketers break through the clutter and stand out.

MediAvataar: How is Gutenberg addressing these trends?
At Gutenberg, our teams understand the importance of insight-driven storytelling and use tools and technology to tell a story. We understand that the best stories are the ones that take customers through the journey from awareness to action by using the right media vehicles to do so. We know that technology is continuously shifting the marketing landscape that we use today. We are always on the lookout for the next big tech that will change the way we reach out to our clients’ customers today. With technology, we understand the need for agility to get ahead of that change and partner with our clients to build ideas that address specific marketing and business goals.

MediAvataar: Any advice to all the marketers out there?
The rapid adoption of technology by new-age consumers forces us to rethink how we can use technology effectively. We can then address the marketing needs at different stages of a brand’s lifecycle. We must understand these shifts and push the envelope on creativity and innovation to build strong brand experiences that matter.


Amazon, Baidu, BMW, Cerence, ecobee, Microsoft, Orange, Salesforce, SFR, Sonos, Spotify, Sound United, Tencent, Verizon and more to promote customer choice by supporting multiple, interoperable voice services on a single device

With multiple, simultaneous wake words, customers can access multiple voice services by simply saying the corresponding wake word – from Alexa and Cortana to Orange’s Djingo, Salesforce’s Einstein, and more

Solutions providers like Intel, MediaTek, NXP and Qualcomm to develop hardware and reference solutions that support multiple wake word engines

Today, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and leading technology companies announced the Voice Interoperability Initiative, a new program to ensure voice-enabled products provide customers with choice and flexibility through multiple, interoperable voice services. The initiative is built around a shared belief that voice services should work seamlessly alongside one another on a single device, and that voice-enabled products should be designed to support multiple simultaneous wake words. More than 30 companies are supporting the effort, including global brands like Amazon, Baidu, BMW, Bose, Cerence, ecobee, Harman, Logitech, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sonos, Sound United, Sony Audio Group, Spotify and Tencent; telecommunications operators like Free, Orange, SFR and Verizon; hardware solutions providers like Amlogic, InnoMedia, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SGW Global and Tonly; and systems integrators like CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr.

“Multiple simultaneous wake words provide the best option for customers,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Utterance by utterance, customers can choose which voice service will best support a particular interaction. It’s exciting to see these companies come together in pursuit of that vision.”

The Voice Interoperability Initiative is built around four priorities:

Developing voice services that can work seamlessly with others, while protecting the privacy and security of customers

Building voice-enabled devices that promote choice and flexibility through multiple, simultaneous wake words

Releasing technologies and solutions that make it easier to integrate multiple voice services on a single product

Accelerating machine learning and conversational AI research to improve the breadth, quality and interoperability of voice services

Multiple, interoperable voice services deliver choice and flexibility for customers

Companies participating in the Voice Interoperability Initiative will work with one another to ensure customers have the freedom to interact with multiple voice services on a single device. On products that support multiple voice services, the best way to promote customer choice is through multiple simultaneous wake words, so customers can access each service simply by saying the corresponding wake word. Customers get to enjoy the unique skill and capabilities of each service, from Alexa and Cortana to Djingo, Einstein, and any number of emerging voice services.

Companies participating in the initiative – including Amazon, Baidu, BMW, Bose, Cerence, ecobee, Free, Harman, Microsoft, Orange, Salesforce, SFR, Sonos, Sound United, Sony Audio Group, Spotify and Tencent – are committed to adopting a similar technological approach, whether building voice-enabled products or developing voice services and assistants of their own.

“We’re in the midst of an incredible technological shift, in which voice and AI are completely transforming the customer experience,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO at Salesforce. “We look forward to working with Amazon and other industry leaders to make Einstein Voice, the world's leading CRM assistant, accessible on any device."

“We value freedom of choice, empowering listeners to choose what they want to listen to and how they want to control it,” said Patrick Spence, Sonos CEO. “We were the first company to have two voice assistants working concurrently on the same system, a major milestone for the industry. We are committed to a day where we’ll have multiple voice assistants operating simultaneously on the same device, and are working to make that happen as soon as possible.”

“Access to the music and podcasts you love should be simple, regardless of the device you’re on, or the voice assistant you use,” said Gustav Söderström, Chief R&D Officer, Spotify. “We are excited to join the Voice Interoperability Initiative, which will give our listeners a more seamless experience across whichever voice assistant they choose, including the ability to ask for Spotify directly.”

Developers and device makers have a shared commitment to customer trust, and will work together to protect the security and privacy of customers interacting with multiple voice services. Companies participating in the initiative will work to ensure this commitment extends to products that support multiple, simultaneous wake words.

Making multiple, simultaneous wake words more accessible for developers and device makers

Alexa machine learning and speech science technology is designed to support multiple, simultaneous wake words. As a result, any device maker building with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) can build powerful, differentiated products that feature Alexa alongside other voice services.

Still, device makers interested in supporting multiple, simultaneous wake words often face higher development costs and increased memory load on their devices. To address this, the Voice Interoperability Initiative will also include support from hardware providers like Amlogic, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.; original design manufacturers (ODMs) like InnoMedia, Tonly and SGW Global; and systems integrators like CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr. As part of the initiative, these companies will develop products and services that make it easier and more affordable for OEMs to support multiple wake words on their devices.

“Giving people flexibility in how they interact with their PCs is foundational to a great user experience, and the mission of this initiative aligns with Intel’s Project Athena innovation program,” said Ran Senderovitz, vice president and general manager of Mobile Product Marketing, Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate to drive the industry to scale voice experiences beyond the many 10th Gen Intel Core based systems expected to launch with multiple voice assistants this year.”

“Qualcomm chipsets allow multiple wake word engines to run simultaneously on a single device already, and we believe joining the initiative will help make these solutions accessible to more device makers and on more form factors,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are excited to work closely with OEMs and developers to understand their needs in this fast growing area of innovation and to develop powerful and scalable solutions to support multiple services on voice-enabled products.”

Advancing the state of the art in machine learning and wake word technology

The academic community has played a vital role in advancing the core machine learning and conversational AI behind voice technology. Companies involved in the initiative will work with researchers and universities to further accelerate the state of the art in machine learning and wake word technology, from developing algorithms that allow wake words to run on portable, low-power devices to improving the encryption and APIs that ensure voice recording are routed securely to the right destination. This continued innovation will provide an important building block for long-term advancements that improve the quality, breadth and interoperability of voice services in the future.

“Customers want flexibility, in addition to greater value and functionality. They don’t want to be locked into using a specific voice service, and that means we’re going to see more households become multi-assistant environments,” said Mariana Zamoszczyk, senior analyst for Smart Living at Ovum. “This trend means that device makers and AI developers need to prioritize interoperability with other services, and work to deliver differentiated, personalized experiences through their own products or assistants.”

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 00:00

Thumbs Up most used sign by millennials

Bobble AI launches Emoji and Sign usage trends on ‘International Day of Sign Language’

Bobble AI has launched a trend report on the usage of emojis and signs in our day to day conversations making the chats more fun, expressive, personalized and quick.

When it comes to a conversation on a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, there is no difference between deaf and non-deaf users. Their conversation is dependent on words that will be typed into the keyboard, or emojis that will be picked out. The gestures remain the same, regardless of them being done physically or virtually. Emojis make it simpler and much more efficient for people to express themselves. Emojipedia 12.0 has already released a special Deaf Person emoji which will soon be a part of devices in 2019.

With the popularity of personal messaging platforms increasing rapidly, there is a need for representation for all sections of the society. This is not limited to only physical aspects, but special needs too. International Day of Sign Language is celebrated annually on 23rd September, along with the International Week of the Deaf.

Bobble has demonstrated capabilities of and by making smartphones ‘Smarter’. Solutions like Bobble Indic Keyboard allow users to choose themes, fonts, & a variety of features as per their liking, allows real-time content creation and personalization with its proprietary technology. Bobble AI-based emoji recommendation engine suggests and predicts a combination of the most used and relevant emojis by interpreting the chat context, sentiments and intent. The more you use this feature, the more it adapts to your emoji usage and personalizes conversations accordingly.

The trend report is based on the data collected on the Bobble AI platforms only. This information is made available by Bobble for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information on the usage of emojis.

Bobble AI took into consideration a sample set of emojis depicting gestures using hands.

● To understand a trend, the usage of the most popular emojis are mapped. Over a course of 12 months, the trend suggests a gradual increase in usage.

● With the advent of conversational tech like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc., users are opting more and more for quick responses using emojis that convey their motive, as well as a text message, could.

● It can also be pointed out that these emojis are not limited to specially-abled people, but are empowering all other linguistically abled users to interact easily as well.

● Millennials are the biggest example of this. With fast-paced lifestyles and an intense need to keep up with everything, emojis let these users take part in conversations with the least amount of effort.

● 63% of our users are on Facebook every day, and 97% on Whatsapp, most of them millennials.

● The Thumbs Up emoji is among the top ten most popular emojis used on online dating apps.

● The most recognized symbol in American Sign Language (ASL), the sign for “I love you'' was added to the Unicode after repeated efforts and a petition by the Western Oregon University professor C.M. Hall and Oregon Association of the Deaf interim president Chad A. Ludwig.

● This emoji - stands nowhere on the top 10 list of related emojis. This could be because of lack of knowledge around the subject.Love-You Gesture on Google Android 10.0

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