Hope. Chimera. Action !


We know that ideas are aplenty but ideas without action are regrets.


Actually I quite like some of the vocabulary that permeates social media communication. Often times you come across someone responding to your WhatsApp or DM with just one word ‘ Done ‘. This four letter word would surely be going along with the grain of crossing the bridge before coming to it. That said, notably, it is also a promise made in advance for action to follow.


So practice or principle? Practice, any time. Promise or performance ? It’s a no-brainer, ain’t it? Performance. Knowing, willing or doing? Doing wins hands down.


Author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury had this to say on the power of cumulative action:

Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you’ll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.”


Attitude precedes outcome. You need to show up before inspiration knocks at your door. 


There is no better domicile to be in than at the intersection of thinking, feeling and doing. That is where the biggest contributions stem from. The people that really create the things that change this world in their own little or big ways are both the thinker and doer in one person. As they say, it takes two to tango.

When we think about trying out a new restaurant or an outfit that you normally wouldn’t have or wave a flag against a policy that you are not in alignment with, it is easy to fall into the trap of expecting everyone to notice your action. But, alas, at most times, no one does. That’s because no one cares about the noise in our head (or the actions we take) nearly as much as we do. You might think it’s going to cause a big commotion when you do something that’s inconsistent, but if it’s generous and useful, it’ll simply happen. So stay the course.


We are enveloped by a system that resists the hustle, the action for the short-term. Because status quo is a comforting territory to be in. But patient, persistent and focused action can pay off.


The world is tumultuous. Urgency defeats emergency. The world needs your leadership. The journey of a thousand miles remember, begins with a single step.


Action precedes change. And as the as the seminal philosopher Marcus Aurelius quoted Universe is change. Life is just an opinion “.




Taking advantage of the flexibility of the English language, the caption is an attempt to share a vocabulary all its own. For convenience sake, I have captioned it ‘ locabulary ‘.


English language is the most universal language in history, way more than the Latin of Julius Caesar. It’s the most punderful language because its vocabulary has a certain critical mass that makes a lingo good for punning “- Richard Lederer



Move over the vocabulary pundits. With due respect to Mariam-Webster, Oxford, Collins and what have you. This warrants a new dictionary. Lets turn the page.



Here are some extracts from every day local communication from Maximum City Bombay that a lot of you would be using or aware of and that which breaks the mould. They bear testament to the fact that nothing like ‘ radical candor ‘ to get the message across. No compliance or adherence to the default. Here goes:



Abbey: Before you get there, let me forewarn you that this has nothing to do with a nunnery or a monastery like what you would see in places like the UK. It is just a wake up call to someone asking him to smell the coffee. It puts everyone out there on a level playing field(inspired by the DEI rallying cry) and is oblivious to titles be it Ms | Mr, positions of authority or any such formality. No power dynamics at work here.



Chayyla: Before you rush to get a cup of tea, and invoke the bawarchi in you, pause. This is used when you feel short changed or have made a fool of yourself. More like a self admonition than anything else.

PS: Chayyla  is best expressed at 20 db decibel levels.



Khajoor : This would be a detrimental representation of ‘ dates ‘ as it should be known conventionally but here the parlance is referring to someone who is downright stupid. Nicely palmed off I dare say. Khajoor sows the seed with a sweet tinge of respectful disdain.



Pendal: First I was at pains to understand what this meant and I continued soft-pedalling the issue. Only to realise later on that this is a well accepted pseudonym for ‘ pedal ‘, as seen on bicycles. And the big advantage is that just like pedal, pendal can be used either as a verb or a noun.



Poblem: Without any problem I reckon you have guessed it. Why are we bothered about the ‘ras long as the problem is getting conveyed. Ignore the letter r in the right spirit. I have no poblem..I mean problem with that. After all phonetics has to have a say! Actually, subtracting one r from the word, seems to have added some weight to the problem, don’t you think so?



Singal: If you turn red or amber or green on this one, I can understand. Though the alphabets are juxtaposed, what is being signaled is signal. So, left, right or state..straight? Traffic law abiding citizens are well versed with this, whether they are single or..



Waat: I know some of you might be letting off steam on hearing this but this has no relation whatsoever to James Watt( of Steam Engine fame). Waat is the weighted average explanation of a totally screwed up situation. Waat The F…? Not to be mistaken with ” Waat Pahath Hotha “, mind you. Imagine, waiting for ‘waat‘? We and our masochistic tendencies!



Apun: This may come across as a pun but there is no pun intended here. This is I, me, myself and defending one’s turf with a vengeance. Apun has a close relationship with the beach town of Alibaug and is best expressed in this usage ” Apun Alibaug se nahee aaya “- meaning- I am not a fool. I have not come from Alibaug. Embedding destination branding in everyday parlance has been inspired from this. So ahead of time!



Peshyal: Before you wonder what is so special about this, let me offer you more than a hint. This is something masquerading as special. Last heard, I am given to understand that Peshyal could also be spelt as Paycial. I am spell bound. Next time, I will do some more spell check.



Ghochoo: Tempted as you would be, please don’t rush to conclude that this is another brand from the Jimmy Choo stable. This is a not so decorated but a go-to way of addressing an idiot. The jury is still out on whether Ghochoo has an oriental descent but apparently it has been patented by Dongri, Kabutar Chawl inhabitants.



Chaapter : Stop, don’t turn the page. This has no connection to the chapters that we have in books. The additional ‘a‘ in Chapter distinguishes itself from the run of the mill. A for aura. This is a hyper localised version of addressing a shrewd and cunning person. How you role your tongue and at what angle do you open your mouth is critical in getting the pronunciation for chaapter right. Going slightly awry would mean closing the chapter shut.



Raada: Phonetics could play tricks on you and coerce you to think this would be from the Prada lineage. Alas, sorry to disappoint you. A raada is a heated argument with a strong potential to go upstream and become a full scale physical assault.



Vat Le: This is no government diktat on the collection of VAT. Nor is anyone using the French masculine article Le wrongly. Vat Le is a crisp get lost message delivered best with just one side of the mouth and minimal lip movement. Just imagine Marlon Brando saying Vat Le in Godfather and you will know what i mean.



Temporvary : Hearing this, your temper could vary. Everything in life is temporvary. We are getting philosophical here. Temporvary is a convoluted way of addressing temporary and has been used for such a long time that now it has become permanent fixture in the locabulary.
Raag : I suspected this was coined by the musically inclined. Or someone like Balamurali( the legend, who created ragas with three swaras) . But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If you hear someone’s raag, it may not exactly sound like music to your ears. In plain speak raag is bluff made palatable. Raagpatti ( whose Cognates are found in Greek, Persian, Khwarezmian and other languages ) takes the narrative a couple of notches above and into the zone of intimidation.
Machmach: Before you arrive at the conclusion that this is a new clothing line brand from Inditex( of Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti etc fame), machmach is nothing much more than an argument, a not so fervent plea to distill the signal from the noise. Mach obliged.
XCoosMe for me now. More mach I mean such in my next.







The future of advertising: a sneak peek!

The Future of Advertising: A Sneak Peek!

What could/should “advertising” look like in 2020 and beyond? What should we do now for that future?

Some questions that crowd our every day artery. Restless consumers and fast changing technology are creating unheralded disruption. Advertising has always been a combination of art and science. Technology is now becoming a third variable. Advertisers “have to get all three of these things right”. They have to be three good.

There are Un Ignorable Forces of Change. Throwing Unabated Challenges to the status quo. But having said that, once recognised, respected and responded right, they offer Unprecedented Upside Potential for the Future. Lets examine them below:-

Exponential Advances in Science & Tech: With IOT, AI, Machine Learning etc, we now have a deeper real time understanding of things, people, situations. Bringing along with it an outsized and unprecedented responsibility for what we do with that knowledge.

Empowered & Skeptical “Consumers” : Wanting Customerization & Personalization (make it mine), seeking Choice(Give me tools to make better decisions), expecting Competitive Value (Give me more for my money), searching for Communities( Let me be a part of it), across multiple Channels (I want to call, click and visit). Individuals with lives, aspirations, challenges, family, communities. They want to be worthy of respect and you need to earn their trust.

Media Disruption & Redefinition : One way has become Two Way, Static is now Dynamic, Stationary is now Mobile, Passive is now Sensing, One-Dimension is now Immersive, Visual has turned Multi sensory. There exists Unprecedented Platform Design Capabilities for delivering Exceptional Contextualised Experiences.

Culture, Society & Our World : Straddling many a Divide across Health, Income, Digital, Education, Equality & Tolerance, Climate & Sustainability.

Inspiring, Measurable Business Models: A heady mix of The customer driven/ holistic model , The co creation model,  The open innovation model , Network orchestration model , The Competitive Value Model, Transformation to full service provider model, The emerging market innovation engine model, The shift to digital and network business models

So what are the takeaways that we can extract from the above listed landscape?

– Traditional mindsets, including those about advertising and marketing, must be challenged and potentially changed. I am referring to the Mental Models: The Primary Impediment to Transformation- For eg: “It has always worked this way.” “We tried it and it didn’t work.” “We’re profitable; why change?..and so forth! 

Before Roger Bannister broke the 4 Minute Mile on May 6, 1954, nobody thought that such a record could be set. We need to ask ‘ What is your 4 minute mile ‘ ?

Its the time to challenge our Mental Models of Advertising and Move from Marketers and Agencies, through Media, at Target Demographics toward being Cross-Silo Collaborators, from Ads toward Orchestrated Value-Creation Touch points, from Frequency toward When Needed, Wanted, Appreciated, from Reach toward Where Needed, Wanted, Appreciated, from Push and Persuade For Sales toward Multi Win Outcomes,pull & engage, from Ad Campaigns toward Initiatives in Holistic, Dynamic Ecosystem.

There is also a great upside in starting to use a new Vocabulary:

From Campaign To Initiative, From Content To Substance, From Persuading To Inspiring and Enabling, From Selling To Serving, From Seeking Loyalty To Earning Trust, From Disruption To Better/Alternate Solutions, From Features and Benefits to Brand Roles in People’s Lives, From Brand Differentiation To Brand Distinctiveness, From Employees To Brand Ambassadors, From Talent To Brand Stewards, From Consumers(myopic) To People with Lives, From Advertising Campaigns To Value Creation Initiatives, From Direct Response To Actionable Communications, From Big Data To Actionable Insights, From Success/Failure To Learning.

The time has come to challenge everything. Leave no sacred cows. Even challenge the objective of the firm from maximising long term shareholder value to aligning the objectives of the brand, the people (consumers…) and society.

– A strong call out to shift your focus from media mix to portfolios of all touchpoint orchestration. Go beyond the 4 Ps- bring in CeX, CSR, Packaging, Web & App etc all. The path to purchase is not linear any more. Operating in a sliver is not serving the purpose.

– Leverage the power of content( make RAVES– Relevant, Actionable, Valuable, Exceptional & Shareworthy) and the power of context( MADE: Multi Sensory, Audience driven, Delivery across platforms, Environment & location sensitive) that helps deliver your compelling brand purpose.

– Be always in beta– in adaptive experimentation mode to foster innovation, to learn faster & better, to attract and retain better talent, to hoodwink competition.

There’s no shortage of screens and there’s no shortage of impressions. But there’s a shortage of high value connection points between brands and consumers, which is the whole point of advertising. You have to create effective engagement with the consumer that gets them to buy.

Latin is very much Greek to me but as I come towards the end of this piece some Latin to keep an eye on. We have passed those days of ‘ Caveat Emptor ‘( meaning Buyer Beware). The new skid on the block these days is ‘ Caveat Venditor ‘ ( meaning Seller Beware ). 

As the brilliant Bob Hoffman puts it ” If you want to die an imbecile in advertising, don’t pay attention to art, literature, history, science, anthropology or nature. Pay attention to the Kardashians “.

Going back to Latin mode- friends- Semper Vigilans (meaning stay vigilant)!