How green is your paperless world??

Posted by Andrew on Saturday Nov 26, 2011


Greenwash is all around us, conflicting stories on climate change and the effect on our lives from melting icecaps to flooding plains is never far from the headlines.

But what of our marketing and its impact on the environment. Should we all rush to ditch our old ways and turn totally electronic and green?

I’m going to argue not!

Stop and think for a moment about what constitutes the environmental impact of various media. They will all use electricity at some point and natural resources at some point. When you consume a newspaper or outdoor advertisement you’ve paid for the resource and electricity. Let us say you pass that paper to a friend or the next person views the ad, they are then reading it in a totally green way i.e. zero environmental impact from sharing that initial carbon cost.

Now, think about sharing an internet ad on your social site, you’ve viewed it and paid your “green penalty” for viewing the content via electricity and natural resources. You share it to a friend and what happens? They pay again, and again and so forth!

Ok, so what about lifecycle of the product, your direct mail shot can be recycled, can your direct email? The “hardware” of your direct mail shot is paper, which if from sustainable forestation and responsible mills is very carbon effective (a tree spends its life absorbing c02 therefore making its primary manufacture neutral). The same cannot be said of your laptop or smartphone!!

I expect at this point I’m challenging a lot of assumptions for most of you and your thinking “show me the stats!” – there are plenty! Here is some information and statsfrom the respected website of Two Sides, (click here for more info).


“Industry research indicates that mail comprises 0.1% of total household CO2 emissions in Europe. The 14 kg of CO2 emitted is the equivalent of:
One 70 km car journey
Five Cheeseburgers
Nine litres of milk
6.6 minutes of transatlantic flight”,

“2% of the UK’s current energy requirement is demanded by data centers today. Roughly the same as the airline industry”,

“Print and Paper comprises 1% or less of World Greenhouse Gas Emissions”,

“Half the UK’s household energy requirements could be needed to drive laptops and PCs in the next 10 years”,

“During 2009, 76.5% of mailed Direct Marketing material in the United Kingdom was disposed of into the recycling stream rather than landfill.”

“One e mail, with a 400kb attachment, sent to 20 people, is equivalent to burning a 100w lightbulb for 30 minutes.”


So, as marketing professionals where does this leave us?

Well quite simply we mustn’t be bowed by greenwash, as the above facts demonstrate, there is evidence to support whatever the side of the argument you are on.

In true futurON fashion and fitting neatly with my previous blogs, ( here ) it’s all in the mix and combining all the relevant technologies and methods to produce a coherent strategy. This will ensure the best return and very possibly the lowest carbon footprint

If you want to offset your carbon then plant a tree – just like a paper mill does!

For something a bit less dry but on a similar theme there are some fun Youtube videos for your delight!

My favourite is the Ninja executive!

Tags : , , , , , , Marketing, Social Media, Technology | add comments »

Is it too late for a Windows 8 Review?

Posted by barathshankar on Thursday Nov 17, 2011

Windows 8 Review

It’s been a while since the developer preview of Windows 8 has been out and I’ve tried spending a bit of time working with the Microsoft’s answer to the ‘future of computing’ where tablets , desktops, laptops (and maybe even mobiles) peacefully coexist under the same umbrella (I remember reading about OS X moving in that direction somewhere?!).

The reason for Microsoft’s success as a quasi-monopoly OS has been due to their tremendous efforts in making a platform work across multiple hardware configurations, which can be quite a nightmare to deal with. However, at an era (1990’s and early 2000’s) when hardware improvements were progressing at a much faster pace, this was an even more challenging task but the lack of any significant competitive threat meant that Microsoft could live with its much known for delays in product launches.

Turn the clock to 2011 and the world is a much different place. Tech experts and geekologists have already started writing obituaries for PC (Microsoft’s bread and butter) and are talking about the post-PC era. In such an environment, can Microsoft deliver a solution that for once is ahead of its time?

What stuck out the most?

Microsoft has probably taken the biggest step in refining its UI since its Windows 3.0 days with Windows 8. At the outset, the desktop has its familiar Windows 7 look to it but you click on the start menu, you don’t see the usual list pop-up but instead you are led to page that scrolls horizontally (perhaps a first on Windows) with large tiles that present a refreshing view. I am assuming that the reasoning behind this UI shift is that it could possibly be replicated on tablets without much difficulty.


While its possible to use some of the applications currently and test them out like Internet Explorer for e.g., (49.59% of the world still used IE – yes its true. Source: ars technica) the others just lead you to a blank page. You can also see how this will help developers building apps on the Windows Mobile platform. They could possibly port them over to the desktop version without much difficulty. This could help Windows 8 get some good traction with people already using Windows Mobile and continue to have a smooth, seamless user experience (The Apple model anyone?)

There is also ample evidence to suggest that Microsoft is going all out to integrate the social web experience into the Windows 8 UI (Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft subsidiary Skype).  This is perhaps most evident in a place where you would expect it the least – Control Panel! I can see how easily the social experience can make the difference with Windows 8 (look no further than Windows Mobile 7).

I’ve been a fan of the Windows Mobile OS since version 7 came out (I also happened to use Windows Mobile from the early 2000 smart phone days) and I can see the amount of effort that Microsoft has put in to make it refined and easy to use. I only hope that some of those best practices will be put to good use when Windows 8 goes live.

In terms of the hardware, I’ve been running Windows 8 on Parallels 6.0 (Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz Processor (running as a single core) with 4 GB RAM) and it is running smoothly! Normally Parallels running Ubuntu or Windows 7 causes significant resource drain and runs out my battery faster than normal but with Windows 8, I’ve noticed that its quite light on drawing system resources (maybe because it’s a developer preview and doesn’t have too many apps running).

If this is an indicator of what to expect in the future, then its definitely a positive sign. I only hope and pray that system manufacturers don’t load unnecessary bloatware and crapware to degenerate the user experience as they have done in the past.

Microsoft has a lot at stake here since they have been fairly stagnant and slow to respond to the fast changing technology world and in the process have made some risky bets. They have the most to lose with the ushering in of the post-PC era.  Once again with Windows 8, Microsoft is placing a risky bet by moving away from its traditional UI that has remained the same for well over 15 years now.  By integrating social features into the core of Windows 8, Microsoft hopes to continue to remain the cornerstone of the fast changing technology world (as a large investor in Facebook and the new owner of Skype) Microsoft already knows the pulse of the customer and hopefully this will help them with achieving the much talked about convergence that has eluded them for a while now.

Disclaimer: Any links and sources are from 3rd party websites. The images are from my Macbook running Windows 8 DP.

I use a MacBook running OS X Lion as my primary computer accompanied by Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 7 (running on Parallels within OS X Lion). I use Ubuntu as the primary entertainment engine and iOS 5 and Android as my mobile computing platforms.



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futurON’s social media webinar for PSYBT

Posted by Arshya on Tuesday Nov 15, 2011



How could we miss an opportunity to help entrepreneurs, startups and the youth, especially from a country close to our heart – Scotland? PSYBT helps many young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and futurON is very excited to grab this opportunity to help PSYBT’s clients, volunteers and network supporters.

So ensuring that we work around our forte, our CEO Arshya Lakshman is conducting webinars on social media marketing, but of course!

Whether it’s startups, multinational companies, SME’s or even the government – everyone is slowly understanding the magnitude of social media. They are not only curious but also want to see how it can help them with their brand, sales, lead generation and return on investment!

However, why should one really go social? What is the real need? Also, if one decides to go ahead, HOW does one really go about starting it? Does one have to be tech savvy? Which platform is best for them? How do they get results? What should they really do online???

Yes – questions are galore. Social media is a new medium for communication and for marketing. There are a lot of early adopters, who would call themselves as “experts”. But truth-be-told, everyone is learning and experimenting. So there are no techniques, tools and tips Ofcourse not – there are plenty of tried and tested methods, tricks and ways of doing well on social media. One just has to start and be ‘social’!

We hope that these two webinars are useful for all PSYBT volunteers, clients and network supporters. The webinars are split into two parts:

“Social Media – Why” – Wednesday 30th November at 1000 (UK Time)

“Social Media  – How” – Wednesday 14th December at 1000 (UK Time)

So, if you are in any way a part of PSYBT, contact to get a place in this FREE webinar!



Tags : , , , , , Marketing | 2 comments »

I think we can all sense that we need a blend of marketing to have a successful strategy but the array of choice is a little bewildering at times. Where do we concentrate our efforts and our budget? As my last blog discussed, find it here, even major advertising agencies are struggling to get to grips with it!

A conversation I had recently turned out to be very revealing.
I have a house for sale and after recently producing a QR code (I only use the best and Delivr is just that,  for an estate agent (realtor to some of you!) I decided to give him the business.

We talked about how to market the property, of course his website supported by his iPhone app and facebook page plus QR codes and NFC chips would be important as would the listing nationally on the property website Rightmove ( is especially important as, in effect, it supplies SEO data back that allows the seller and his agent to gauge how well the marketing is going and whether the price will be attained without a long period of being on the market. By knowing ones share of available traffic, buyer interest can be accurately measured.

What about “real world” marketing I asked? For example, sale board and press advertising. I was told a board is always useful as neighbours chat and the word spreads in the area. Press advertising however was described as next to useless! “Hadn’t sold a property from it in months”!! Which was strange because I see the agents press ad every week!

So, I asked, why do it? After some discussion it became apparent that press marketing was essential to promote the agent not to buyers but to potential sellers. First rule of being a property agent is have properties to sell.
Essentially it has become, in the property arena, a brand awareness tool, not a selling tool.

So for this company, it finds it’s buyers in the virtual world via internet search but finds its customers in the real world via traditional marketing methods, press and outdoor signs.

This is the quintessential example of a modern marketing mix. It is an holistic approach that treats the buying and selling elements differently and achieves success by playing on the key strengths of different media – Internet for is for search and press and outdoor is for brand awareness. The company has to do both well to survive and prosper, neither old nor new media alone can make it a successful company.

No charts and graphs to ponder over but please try scanning this QR code with your smartphone and see an agent grasping everything that technology can offer! For those without a smartphone check out

See you next time!

Tags : , , , , Innovation, Marketing, Social Media | 9 comments »

Being Social in the digital age!

Posted by priyanki on Thursday Nov 10, 2011

NDTV’s recent debate on We the Tweeple, discussing how social media is changing human equations and our lives in general was an intriguing one. Politicians, film actors, activists and general public participating in the debate used adjectives like dangerous, empowering, confessional, and controversial – to describe this growing platform of communication.


I am an avid evangelist of the power of social media as a channel of communication for those of us wanting to engage an audience with a message. Increasingly as humans, our first stop for accessing news and views about a range of subjects is an FB post or a quick tweet and not the traditional BBC or local newspaper! In this age of the digital revolution where one is constantly on the go and dinner table conversations with friends and family become increasingly rare – the new social world available 24×7 at the click of a blackberry button provides a sense of community, sharing and one on one dialogue. Our friends and followers, irrespective of distance or age and the fact that we may have never met many of them – are our new support system and those we trust. The recommendations of these people influence the choices, decisions and opinions we make.

From the perspective of a marketing communications professional, the opportunity and strength of social media lies in its impact on consumer behaviour and the trust placed in the network. From the mobilisation of support for causes such as the Arab revolutions earlier this year, India’s fight against corruption or even the global launch of the latest new Iphone 4S, the conversations on Facebook, Twitter and other topical blogs have been key to creating awareness, sourcing crowds and influencing public opinion.

Having said that, as a strategic marcomms consultant, I have often thought twice about recommending this channel as a voice box to many. The key to success with social media lies in the quality of interaction with one’s audience. What we say in the virtual world is in public domain to be appreciated or trashed and we got to be prepared for unsuspected reactions. In this respect, the argument about being on social being dangerous and controversial holds true. Especially in context of corporate brands and organisations, this opportunity of building equity with a relevant audience through a two way conversation requires the courage and transparency of being open to naysayers and negative comments.

In the world of social media, the skill of being outspoken is as important as the ability to listen and provide a rapid response. Being unresponsive to a vent on twitter against your brand or worse still, deleting it from your Facebook profile (and yes I have experience of brands doing that!) defeats the fundamental concept of being social. Moreover, it possibly does more reputational damage than being completely invisible on the channel itself. The rules of the twitter world mean you learn to take criticism on the chin and come with a bit of a thick skin along with buckets of wit and humour. For the risk averse and those sensitive to every word spoken about them, this isn’t the medium to chase.

Tags : , , , , , , , Marketing, Social Media | 2 comments »

It was a normal day for me in London, trying to get to work in afternoon (2.40 PM GMT) after attending a conference call from home and when I reached the St.Johns Wood tube station, I realized that my Oyster card had run out of credit. So I tried using my HSBC debit card to recharge and voila – it declined! I was in a bit of shock/surprise given that I knew I had sufficient balance in my account (Yes, living in London can sometimes be an expensive affair that it makes you wonder if your account still has money).

I then grudgingly walked towards the HSBC ATM across the Oyster card machine and tried to see what the situation was and if I could withdraw some money – and BAM! Again – i got a message stating ‘You’ve exceeded your cash withdrawal limit’. Then I tried looking up my balance – it declined and returned my card. It’s one of those WTF moments when you realize that you are stuck and are at the mercy of a system that is dependent on card with small plastic tape in the back.

Luckily for me (or unluckily) I walked across to the HSBC branch in St. Johns Wood to see if I could use the machines there and I was faced with the same situation! I proceeded to try to talk to an associate who had no clue what was going on and funnily I was the first one to report this situation to him.

This is when it struck me (2.55 PM) to check twitter…and there I saw it – a few people had already started reporting with the hashtag #HSBC that they were facing similar problems. It took about an hour after that for the mainstream media to pick it up and at around 3.45 PM BBC confirmed that HSBC was indeed down and many people were left stranded without access to cash.

One thing to notice was that the HSBC social media team (if they have one) had already picked up on this and were quick to respond to twitter comments that they were aware of the situation and were trying to rectify it.

Lessons Learnt: Have an internal team that tracks the social media space, especially twitter. Increasingly people are using twitter to get the news out faster than mainstream media and boy! Does it work or what? Had it not been for twitter I would had to deal with unnecessary stress of wondering if some fraudulent transaction had left me without cash when I am about to leave on a trip to Europe for 7 days! Quite scary! Kudos to HSBC on its quick response (although not for letting such a critical system go down)





Tags : , , , , , , Marketing, Social Media | 1 comment »