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Monthly Archives:November 2015

‘Not For Profit’ ways are the NEW Marketing

I was early for the meeting the other day so I opted to spend time at Starbucks Store. With the Kindle app installed in my mobile, I read the ebook for an hour. Neither anyone asked me what I would buy to justify my occupying their chair there, nor there was any compulsion to buy anything. Like me, I was not alone, there were a few more like me completely engrossed in their mobile phones.

Michael Sterner of Social Media Examiner in his book ‘Launch’ writes;

“Don’t think people are targets for the sale….. rather than focus on people who are buying your products and services, shift your attention to people you want to help… If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

This is the future. ‘For Profit’ enterprises have to change their ways of doing business. They will have to employ ‘Not for Profit’ way of doing the business.  Rather than having only sells focus, enterprises of today are focused on helping their customers. Non Profit route is the route to earn the profit.

“Companies with higher sense of purpose outperform by 400%.’’

From Zappos.com website.

Free selfless help will bring more customers to the business. Hospitals need to focus on preventive healthcare awareness program for the benefit of people at large. Real Estate companies need to educate people about precautions while buying a home or precaution while selecting the developer for the redevelopment project. Restaurants and hotels need to offer free culinary classes to the people in the nearby vicinity. LinkedIn is a free service. Even without their premium services, LinkedIn is extremely useful service for the professionals.

When I launched my previous two eBooks, it was free for an initial 3 to 5 days. Not only me but most ebooks are available for free as a part of Amazon’s book promo package.

What is this free economics?

Educate, allow free entry, allow free usage, help them with your knowledge and relax. Free service users and customers would get converted to paid customers and paid to premium customers. This is applicable to LinkedIn as well as to the Starbucks and may be to every business. But most are not used to help customers and therefore no free business.  But it is a good business. Free ebook means more downloads, more downloads means more reader reviews and more reviews means more buyers even when the book is not available for free.

There is a whole book titled ‘The Starbucks Experience’ which is about how Starbucks is doing business and how many of their customers are managing their work life from Starbucks stores. The book is also talking about how Starbucks store is engaging with surrounding communities. All these have nothing to do with their CSR activities, but it is their way of doing FOR PROFIT business.

Every business has to help their potential customers for free in order to earn profit. Yes, we are in a strange economy. Yes, this is a strange sharing economy where companies focus on helping customers and customers help fellow customers in deciding to choose their service providers with their user reviews.

The author of the book ‘Looptail’, Bruce Poon Tip, aptly puts this;

“…. Social enterprise to me is about solving standard business problems with solutions that address social issues like environmental sustainability and economic inequality. That idea started a non-profit world, but more and more, you see it creeping into the for-profit world because the consumer is demanding it.

The customer doesn’t want to purchase something randomly; they want to know where that product is coming from and to identify with that brand. They want to know why they should purchase it and why they should purchase it from you. They want to understand what that brand and the people behind it stand for.”

Though the bottom – line remains the same, approach and route of doing the business has changed. We now don’t need a separate CSR team or activities or funds, it has to go hand in hand with the business objectives. Helping customers genuinely in solving their problem by charging for some solutions and not charging for others is the real CSR and new marketing.

People don’t trust enterprise communication and monologue, but they believe in fellow customers. Therefore, talk less and focus on helping and serving customers.


“If you are only focused on the sale, you are missing a mega opportunity.”

Sunil Gandhi

5th Idiot – A very quick survey

A very quick survey:

1) Are you happy with what you are doing to earn money?

2) Do you have a dream which you want to pursue but life’s other priorities have taken over your time?

3) What one change you would suggest your company/boss should do to make your life better?

4) Employees’ happiness matter at all in entrepreneurial pursuit of profit?


5th Idiot, a fiction on workplace happiness is releasing soon.

(Inviting beta readers too. Send me your email ID)

Sunil Gandhi

Product & Service is dead

If an enterprise wants to fulfil the customers need with ease and delight, enterprises should know what the need is, what will add to ease while fulfilling the need and what will be icing on the cake i.e. delight.

Customers take a journey to fulfil his need. For example, if we look at the journey of a home buyer;

1) First, he will look for the project, either in the newspaper or on the website.

2) Then he will call the company or call center,

3) Thereafter he will book his visit appointment,

4) Then he actually visits the site,

5) He meets a sales person there,

6) He will see show flat,

7) Asks about the surrounding area and location,

8) Inquire about price and possession schedule and leaves.

This was a journey of a potential buyer. Now when the potential buyer becomes a buyer his journey would be;

1) Family visits to the site

2) Paying booking advance at the builder’s office

3) Stamp duty, registration payment

4) Home Loan application

5) During the construction period, a few site visits

6) Reminders from builders for instalment payments

7) Final possession

8) Go online on social media sites to share the experience

Broadly, this is the journey home buyers undertake while buying a home.

Now if a company wants to improve customer experience, breaking down of this entire customer journey is very important. For every industry knowing customer journey are very critical aspects to better customer experience.

Customer Journey maps – Example – Patient ExperiencePatient Journey Map

(Source – Bridgeable)

Starbucks measure their in-store customer journey in about twenty steps. They measure store location and appearance to store toilet cleanliness and everything in between like queue at cash counter to welcome by staff to a decor of the store.

When the company is working on to better their customer experience, the weakest link can not only spoils the entire experience but even can negate the sales altogether or repeat purchase. Imagine a shabby toilet in an otherwise good restaurant. Though we do not go to restaurant for toilet experience, but that experience matters. Imagine a builder site with a signboard and potential buyers could find it with great difficulty. His buying interest will almost die by the time he is in front of sales executive.

Similarly, in an online world which is the omni-channel world, customers seldom travel in a straight line. He visits a website then he will move to call center for an inquiry, then he will move to social media for customer reviews and then he may call someone for a home visit. Every customer not only will take a different a journey but entry and exit points are also not certain.

Why to map customer journeys?

The simple answer, in order to improve the customer experience, knows how customer not only moves on a buying map but what he feels along with it.

Journey mapping will make the enterprises aware that there is a form to be filled before the emergency patient is admitted to the hospital. This will bring to the light how doctor talks with the patients impact customer experience, this will even enlighten the enterprise that patient discharge procedure is too lengthy and there is a need to engage the patient and their relatives during that time. This will make the hospitals and banks and for that matter every enterprise knows how irritating or emotionally draining experience they are providing to their customers.

Customer Journey Mapping can help the companies in;

1) Knowing existing touch points and experience in each of the touch points.

2) It can give end to end view of the customer movement which can help in,

3) Improve the experience by reducing the pain points and enhancing the need fulfillment mechanism with ease and possible delight

4) Most important the entire organisation which is usually divided into silos, becomes aware about the customer journey and experience how their action or inaction impact the experience.

Journey maps can even help an enterprise in knowing people, process, channel, operation, technology involved at each step of the journey.

Focusing only on features of an insurance policy is not enough. How it is sold, agent sales training – soft skills and product knowledge, claim settlement procedures, call center experience, clarity of policy documents everything counts.

How to map a customer experience journey

1) Decide the major journeys

2) Apply existing knowledge and get additional info/research to map the journeys

3) Map the existing journey. Moments of truth, pain points, customers thinking and feeling at each touch point. REMEMBER: Emotional experience is very important to map to improve the wholesome customer experience.

4) Map it with what the journey/touch points is expected to achieve

5) Identify area of improvements

6) Define future ideal journey maps from the existing journey insights

7) Develop a plan (short-term, medium term and long term) to execute the ideal journey maps.

Customer Experience is a competitive advantage, today, winning brands owes their success not just for the quality and value of what they sell, but by the superiority of the journeys they create.

Yes, customer journey in its entirety is the product. Entrepreneurs have to expand their view of the products and services in the experience and sharing world we are in. Product and service design entails designing of customer experience and customer journey designs are core to customer experience design.

Imagine, chef and cook are making excellent food, but the restaurant where it is served, location where it is located, approach road, the soft skills of waiters, interior design, menu, home delivery service everything is pathetic and not designed keeping customers need, ease and delight in mind. Mere food quality will fail to make the enterprise successful.

Do you have your customer journey maps in front of you?

More about customer experience in the book The Bread is moving.   

Sunil Gandhi

People to Profit Roadmap

Customer Reviews are a new currency which is solely dependent on customer experience an enterprise is creating. But customer experience depends on what? Well, first and foremost it is the job of CEO and then it is taken over by the people. People working for the organisation  are the brand ambassadors.

Every employee over and above their JD, does the brand building for the enterprise she is working for. The Brand building includes brand destroying. People are the only living being working for the organisation. Rest all are created by the people as it can’t happen automatically.

Therefore, the route to better customer experience is better employee experience. Unless employees are taken very good care of customer experience efforts fail. Profit is a function of better employee experience.

Following quote by former CEO of Xerox states the same thing.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox

There are plenty of such quotes by experienced entrepreneurs and CXOs. But mostly it remains in paper when it comes to ground reality. As per the Gallup report as many as 63% of employees are not engaged in their work meaning they are unhappy with their work.

Another such study by economists at the University of Warwick has found that;

“Happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”


Long and short of the story and research is employee happiness is indirectly directly linked to better profitability. Beyond Philosophy, UK has found that there are none leakage points when it comes to creating a better experience.

These are;

  • Leadership & Culture
  • Strategy
  • Marketing & Branding
  • Channel
  • People
  • Process
  • System
  • Expectation
  • Measurement

Out of the nine two are the major leakage points and if these two are plugged remaining will be taken care by these two. Without the support and involvement of these two others can’t sustain. These two are;

  • Leadership
  • People

People are the most important resource an enterprise can bank upon. However they are not given the due importance. When companies like Google are concerned with employee satisfaction and are leading the best place to work chart for years, one can understand the role of the people in leading companies of the world. This also is a hint where they are focussing to remain successful.

Unfortunately, company annual reports are missing on two of the most important data which they must focus on and care to improve on a sustainable basis. These two data are influencing the shape of the Profit & Loss Accounts and Balance Sheets.

  • Employee Happiness Index
  • Customer Experience Index

We have all kinds of irrelevant data consuming pages in annual reports but no mention of these two critical data which majorly influence the sustainability of the company. Shouldn’t companies report something more than what is statutorily required?

The problem is most of the companies are not even measuring these Index.

There are many versions available online. Start with anyone and then improve and customise. Measurement will bring improvement perspectives.

If we believe Steve Jobs;

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Now to do great work if the employees have to love their job, then isn’t it a good business sense and strategy to create an atmosphere where employees are happy and love what they do?

When the authors of the book ‘The Customer Comes Second’ writes this, what they mean is employee comes first in order to create a better customer experience.

When companies like Google and Apple leads the employee experience and customer experience charts respectively, there is learning from them for every entrepreneur.

Employee Experience > Customer Experience > Customer reviews > More Customers > Brand Building > Brand Premium > Higher Profit

This common sense needs an enormous amount of research to make employer believe and act. Even today in this red ocean world, this is hardly practiced.

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”  – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” – Timothy R. Clark, executive coach and organizational consultant.

HR is not only an HR function and Customer Experience (CX) is not a marketing or IT function. HR & CX both are strategic functions. Business leaders need to realise this, earlier the better.

Sunil Gandhi

Common insight from Rajkumar Hirani & Kabir Khan

MAMI, film festival, which was in a financial crunch last year is now finally on a strong footing now with sponsors like Reliance Jio and Star TV. Mumbai, the heart of Indian film industry facing financial crunch was a matter of shame for the city. Mumbai even does not have a Bollywood museum for visitors of the city to know the rich heritage of India Hindi movies.

However, the festival is a very good event and not to be missed event for Movie lovers and everyone associated with the art of movie making.


During the festival i.e. 29th Oct to 5th Nov 2015 around 150 movies will be shown in some 5 venues. Indian and International movies, documentaries are part of the event. Some of our classic Indian movies like Garam Hawa and Satyajit Ray movies like Apur Sansar and Aparajito have also been shown during the festival. Know more at the festival.

One of the important events during the festival was at Mehboob Studio, on 31st Oct.
It was an opportunity to listen stalwart directors like Rajkumar Hirani, Kabir Khan & Dibakar Banerjee, writers like Abhijat Joshi (3 Idiot & Mummabhai, fame) and Javed Akhtar. The entire Mr. India team shared their experiences of making of the movie, Mr. India.

The Movie is not only a medium of entertainment, now with the emergence of multiplexes and digital media, movies are a powerful medium for social change and highlighting important social issues.

A book can be read by individuals and it takes hours and days to complete the same. The same message can be conveyed by a movie in an entertaining way that too very quickly. Movies are an extension of fiction books. Visual fiction books are movies.

One of the famous movie makers of our time Satyajit Ray had said.

“ I’ve made seventeen or eighteen films now, only two of which have been original screenplays, all the others have been based on short stories or novels, and I find the long short story ideal for adaptation. “

The most popular Indian movies of recent times 3 Idiots was based on Chetan Bhagat’s book ‘5 Point Someone’. (Though there were some disputes.) How many have read the book and how many have seen the movies? Movies can go to the masses which a book rarely does. A movie adaptation from a book also makes the book more popular.

Yes, all fiction books are potential movies. Even social media champions are advocating Video as a means of very powerful way of marketing.

Back, in September, 14, a video blogger named Lewis rose to the tops of headlines when he performed the iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test on his YouTube channel, Unbox Therapy. He garnered 33 million views in just 4 days, leading to coverage in more than 4,600 articles, proving that video is powerful means of marketing.

Numbers of documentaries made these days are also a very encouraging trend. Non-fiction message also can be communicated effectively through visual means and can reach to masses through digital platforms. One of the documentaries I saw during the MAMI festival was ‘The Journey of 1000 miles, Peacekeepers’.

This is a real life story of three Bangladeshi policewomen who served with the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Trailer.

This was not at all a boring, but a very interesting real life story convened through a documentary. Perhaps the same story in a nonfiction book format might not have worked. The power of the visual medium is powerful.

Movies, documentaries, and videos have become very important part of our lives, be it entertainment, knowing the truth and ideas or marketing for business. However, all these need writers.

The common insight for fiction writers from the talks by Rajkumar Hirani and Kabir Khan is;

Write for the self. Write what you want to write. Do not try to write for any particular segment or target audience, because you never know whether anyone will like it or not. But when a writer writes for the self, at least one person is guaranteed to like his work i.e. himself.

Sunil Gandhi