Getting labellious!


Caveat: No, I don’t think there is a word called labellious, but I took the liberty of being rebellious.Yes, since there is a word called rebellious.


Since judging others is a full time profession for many, most of the world is a well employed place. Unemployment is only a myth. Though, the jury might be out on that one!!


” I am not an optimist. I am a realist. And my reality is that we live in a multi faceted, multicultural world. And maybe once we stop labeling ourselves, then maybe everyone else will “- Octavia Spencer


To me, labels were all about what we stuck on our notebooks and textbooks in school to establish ‘ ownership ‘ in the otherwise sea of sameness. When we grew up we were either at the giving or receiving end of labels like ‘ She is a prude ‘, ‘ He is an introvert ‘.’ Oh no, he is a stick in the mud ‘. ‘ She is a go-getter ‘. ‘ He is a rare talent ‘.


Then marketers entered the zeitgeist gleefully labelling people as ‘ Millennials ‘, ‘ Digital Natives ‘, ‘ Baby Boomers ‘ and what have you. Labelling makes ‘ targeting ‘ easier. Apparently!! That said, to me Demographics is Dead. RIP Demographics !


The thing with labels is that it can be both empowering and self-defeating. ‘I have tech phobia ‘. ‘ I am a misfit in social circles ‘. We are all multi-faceted at most times but the weight of a label buttonholes us into a default mode of the ‘ prescribed mode of conduct ‘. When the label description becomes the dictating narrative of our lives. The hunter becomes the hunted.


Modern day lexicon is not helping certainly. If everything is ‘ awesome ‘ as used by most digital natives in normal conversation, is anything? Not getting the latest fast fashion style at the brand store cannot be  ‘traumatic ‘. But it ends up being so. By attaching the label of “trauma” to run-of-the-mill challenges, we risk amplifying their significance, making them appear insurmountable, and potentially hindering our healing journey.



We are all nomads here. So, the way out is to take advantage of the fluidity of life and adapt accordingly. Labels need not come with permanent glue. Treat them like Post-It Notes. There today, not there tomorrow. You can stick them on and peel them off, as and when you please.


Show it who is the boss- you are the landlord, the label is only a fleeting tenant. Use them like tools and not get bound by them as rules.


Obsessing over your own labels stops you from being an authentic version of you. You’re living up to a label someone who doesn’t know you as much as you do has given you, which is pretty weird when you think about it.


As an aside, before I conclude, for those interested, Labelling theory was developed by Howard Becker and is most associated with the sociology of deviance.






If CeX(Customer Experience) is the future,why are brands missing out?

“The best way to find your self is to lose your self in the service of others”- Mahatma Gandhi.

How often have we heard all of these statements below especially in the recent past?
Experience is the new brand.
Experiences are the new branding.
The Future is Experience.
Brands will be all about CeX(Customer Experience).
CeX(Customer Experience) is the flavour of the season and beyond and will be for a long long time to come, especially in the context of a hyper cluttered, over commoditised, always on world.The world is migrating from a culture of ‘ ownership ‘ to a movement of ‘ experiences ‘. All of this is stating the obvious but then many a brand seem to overlook this with gay abandon.
A lot of us would have experienced hotel brands during our travels either for business or pleasure.Top of the draw 5 and 4 star properties from the leading hotel brands in the world. How many of us(especially the middle aged with presbyopia staring at us in the eye) have gone in for a shower and struggled to read the writing on the tiny bottles of shampoo or shower gel or body lotion. You take the risk only to realise that the body lotion is fighting desperately for your scalp’s attention only for it to be given the slip. That there is lather in your eyes doesn’t help your cause. What stops the hotel brands from labelling these bottles in big, bold, readable fonts to distinguish one from the other. Lather sorry rather myopic, isn’t it? Especially considering Gen X and Baby boomers still contribute substantially to the hospitality industry’s coffers. About time some prudence showered down. Should we stay different?
Cutting edge technology is supposed to be at the forefront of banking services, especially in their quest for simply better banking that drives customer delight. And this customer is the one calling to find out the outstanding due on her credit card to ensure the payment(and the full bill at that) is made on time. How remiss of you- you are not a ‘ prized customer ‘ for the bank as you are not earning them either late fee or interest. Nor giving their pre decided script driven coveted call centre staff to act one (or even two) up on you.With all the preamble of voice recognition, telephone pin , IVR etc you expect a request such as finding the balance should be a matter of a few seconds. Don’t be surprised, a recent call made history with 18 plus minutes of conversation.Yes, it’s just seconds only, but all 1080 of it. We are told that these calls are monitored for quality and assurance purposes. That’s so reassuring, but, we are still waiting. Because they insist our call is important to them. Simply better anyone?
For all those who have been at the receiving end(pardon the pun) of service from the courier industry. The all important document can only be received by you upon identification etc. That’s all very well as they are taking the right precautions to ensure the receiver is genuine and can authenticate her identity. Perfectly acceptable. So, when you get the call, you ask the courier company what time would the document be delivered and the ‘ comforting ‘ response is ‘ anytime between 9 am and 6 pm ‘. Wow, phenomenal, you just wait until kingdom come(or the delivery staff) and give up on everything else you are doing that day. Upon your request, a note of the specific time is made on their ‘ system ‘, only for you to realise that the delivery man turned up exactly at the time you were not in. Doesn’t all this make you Fed Up?
No, normally you don’t have less than ten items at the hypermarket especially on the weekend. So, you damn well be in the ‘ cattle class ‘ line. After touring several aisle of Man(and Woman) in the store, and picking up both wanted (and unwanted) items, you get ready to take on the serpentine lines and tread heavily to the front of the check out when the inevitable happens: you guessed right, the bar code on one of the packets(wanted item) you have picked up don’t scan, nor is it readable enough to be typed in manually. Frantic call to a help(if he or she is around) to verify the pricing is met with condescending glares and eventually you decide to let go of that item of purchase. Sure we are getting hyper about it but isn’t it time these hypermarket brands read the customer frustration code and raised the bar?
I will leave the baggage carousel at airports for another time where for the airlines it seems to be all about first come, last served. We all are a sucker for good experiences and waiting with bated breath to share it when you are the fortunate one. Brands should be looking at making the most of it.
There is a great opportunity for brands to differentiate, distinguish, delight. Till then, we want to believe our fall sorry call is important to them…