Why is everyone having hard stops all of a sudden?

The worst thing about office jargon? – That it’s like measles.

Measles set off usually by the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion – also office jargon).

That is how most office jargon spreads – someone waa…y above you uses it on you after spotting it on some televised show or some series these days on Netflix maybe, and then you catch it. And then you use it at the next available opportunity and now you’re the star. You’ve passed it along. Done your bit. Enriched vocab all around, plaudits in waiting.

And then the next time you hear it from someone along your line or below and you wink at yourself knowingly. It’s like speaking in code. A way to tell the jargonites from the mud-bloods who don’t get much time indulging boredom with their PPTs in sub-zero air-conditioned conference rooms.

Office jargon is like neon shoes – nobody wants it until the boss gets it. And then everybody gets it. Think about it. If your office peon said s/he had a hard stop at 4pm, you’d just wince. But it’s different when the boss says it. Especially so when the boss’ boss says it. And when the director says it, you’d better just be calling home and yelling at your house-help that you have a hard stop at 7am tomorrow.

This is just like how ‘airport looks’ operate. Or for that matter ripped jeans.

So what does it mean when you say hard stop: let’s invest in some research and knowledge. It is, after all, a Wednesday, also known as a ‘hump’ day – office jargon, again – to mean the middle of the week when things are truly settling down after a Monday engulfed in office blues and procrastinated upon and then comes Tuesday still reeling under the effect. Wednesday is when you pull up your boots and say well, Friday ain’t too far. Friday is the ultimate hard stop, people!

Coming back to hard stops: The term comes from the world of investment – it’s a standing instruction from a brokerage client to sell units of a security if the market price declines to a specific level. You might think the comparison far-flung but we’ve had a rich history of flinging ‘IT’ really far in the good ol’ office with jargons like ‘touch base’ and ‘when the rubber hits the road’.

To think that when I heard the term for the first time I actually mis-heard it as heart stop. And I was delighted at the ability of this suspicious looking bearded fellow in a dapper suit to schedule the stoppages of his heart right over his smartphone. It was interesting. Until I heard it again and resolved to use it myself the next time.

Luckily, my day went well. My hard stop argument worked like magic. It’s like I had made ingenuous requests like ‘Oh, but I need just a minute’; ‘this won’t take long’, ‘yeah but we have a business priority here’ just simply disappear into thin air. The Hard Stop was an infallible aide. It’s where arguments and power and intimidation met their kryptonite.

So why don’t you tell me: What’s your hard stop? 🙂


hard stops


Storytelling, the latest content marketing buzzword

If you’re anything like me, the average consumer/user of anything digital, you’ll know that there’s nothing like average anymore.

You’re you. He’s he. She’s she. That’s all. That Segment of ONE which we like to call an aspiration in marketing, is already a reality when it comes to communication. Because just so much depends on cultural relevance, timing, interpretation.

And that’s the real reason why storytelling ticks. Every word you say, every picture you show me, I experience in a unique way, even though words are yours, images are of your choosing. Storytelling is the ultimate Segment of ONE.

That’s why I think this link should prove interesting: Current State of Social Media Algorithms by Social Media Today

Do check it out.

The Storytelling Edge

If you’re in #marketing, you know there’s so much to do, and so little time

Wednesday thought: Marketing is going bonkers.

Because the old rules no longer apply.

You need to ideate, create, AND do your ‘regular’ ‘old school’ stuff.

You need to stay on top of what’s happening.

You market your brand and market YOUR BRAND as a marketer as well.

The tools are all there but you never know what will work – and what’s the point anyway if all the advice is going to everyone, will everyone end up doing the same thing?

The answer is no. Here’s my fav post for today, – 9 podcasts digital marketing professionals must listen to, from SocialSamosa.

With Gary Vee and HBR Insider to keep me company, that drive from work to home is a quick top-up on the latest happenings in marketing.

This works.

Notes On Digital Dynamics: From ‘Hacking Marketing’ by Scott Brinker

Scott Brinker’s brilliant book lays down Five Characteristics of the digital world that cause it to behave quite differently than the physical world:

Speed – While it takes time to frame our messages, our messages get across in an instant. This is feeding the ‘Culture of Now’ and our marketing needs to adapt to this speed of functioning. We have to execute faster.

Adaptability – How soon/often can you bring in and accommodate change? vs the cost factor?

Adjacency – Concept of distance: The number of steps you take before you find what you want on the Internet / digital platforms. For marketing management, it also means making more and more information available to their teams from within the organisation.

Scale – A special tip for Content marketing: ‘The content on your website can be consumed by 10 people or 10 million… The hard part is coming up with content that 10 million people would want to consume’.

Precision – Digital activities are Measurable. There are metrics and then analytics.




Digital marketing terms

How Did Everything Go Digital?


They say, ‘If you want the right answers, learn to ask the right questions

Currently reading ‘Hacking Marketing’ and truly admire MarTech guru Scott Brinker doing just that.

Love that the book starts with addressing the digital dynamics that have become the central theme of literally everything in our lives: we’re hurtling on this buggy ride of change towards a future unknown but it’s certainly going to be digital and intelligent, and super-smart.

Reproducing a para from Hacking Marketing here for context…

“How did my business go digital?” With apologies to Ernest Hemingway, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

But, what Brinker asks later is at the crux of what defines an organization’s digital journey: ‘How should Marketing Management evolve to best leverage these modern marketing methods?

In the world of traditional marketing so far, it has been all about spending a good deal of time on strategy, then planning, then campaigns, then vetting the right agencies before you went into execution. Then come reports and studies. Rinse, repeat.

Basically, all pretty Linear. Organised. Logical. LOL, yes! 🙂 A process. The theme suddenly changes. So does the backdrop.

Enter special characters. A whole lot of them. It’s the era of digital marketing now.

By now, there’s simply no time for “hatching” those LOL plans. Today, the management is expected to juggle the same old LOL along with their SM feeds on-the-go, influencing & engaging with the world on multiple channels and platforms, establishing thought leadership, applying analytics and so on… and with lesser staff too.

If that wasn’t enough, we’re dealing with stakeholders who anyway had little appreciation for the role per se and now it’s even worse with all the myriad metrics and tools – oftentimes the focus is on what we didn’t achieve rather than what we did compared to our peers and competitors.

The takeaway then is that the first thing that needs to go under the digital rollercoaster is the traditional thinking and the conventional ways of looking at the problem. The key lies only & only with the marketing management – for tools and platforms, and channels and devices are aplenty. It is the management’s ability to prioritize and execute outside of the LOL that will decide how marketing evolves with marketing technology.

What’s your take on the subject? 

The Best a Man Can Get is Still Gillette

I wake up to this Gillette ad, which has kicked up a much bigger storm than the Kardashian Pepsi commercial did more than a year ago. I guess that ad was the start of brands taking on the role of SJWs – Social Justice Warriors.

SJW is by definition a derogatory term which means a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.

In a normal world there would be a few thumbs ups for this person but in reality, which is neither normal nor reasonable, the reasons for this are the fact that we have to hold SJWs responsible for having boundary issues. I digressed there. But that is the point. SJWs will stop at nothing. Such as pedophilia being termed as a condition rather than a pathetic scourge of the mankind. They want pedos to be included in the ‘queer’ category to be represented on the gay pride flag. Because, there is such a thing as a non-practising pedophile. So anyway, this is a small example of why SJWs don’t get a lot of respect.

What happened then with the Gillette ad was a classic design problem I learnt about during a brief ‘knowledge-share’ session at my workplace – That when instructions are printed in a font that’s harder to read, the reader/user confuses that difficulty with the difficulty level of the task itself. Apparently, Ikea knows this. So thank you Ikea. My male friend had no problem assembling that beige double bed.

Moving on to males. They’re exploding the dislike button on Gillette’s YouTube link. Here it is again in case you’d like to have a go at it too.


They’re doing so just for suggesting that they are better than the toxic messages they receive from the likes of:

Harvey Weinstein

Donald Trump

Charlie Harper

Woody Allen

Ramsay Bolton

Karl Marx

Don Draper


Frank Underwood

O J Simpson


John Eric Armstrong (Know more here )

Jack The Ripper

List of all the men outed under the Metoo movement. 

  • Does not include the stalwarts back in India. Top names though: Alok Nath. Rajkumar Hirani. Vinod Dua. M J Akbar. All renowned ones.

Saddam Hussein

Jordan Belfort

Vladimir Lenin

Pol Pot

Genghis Khan


Che Guevara

Robert Mugabe (Let me throw in THIS  link detailing the respective rules of these powerful men from Africa)

Know that some of these characters are fictional but most are not. I trust you to know which is which.

But I can tell you this: we haven’t even got started.

The men who’ve gotten all riled up with this one ad that is the only sliver of good parenting they have / ever will receive, are the ones for whom this ad was made in the first place.

It talks about not waking up to a world where bullying is justified with ‘boys will be boys’. And God knows it’s the males who are the worst sufferers of it. Instead of saying “yeah, we do have a problem; glad someone is speaking out”, they’re swearing off of all P&G products. Good going.

Yes, a brand’s job is to sell. And trust me, sell they will. Gillette has moved on. It’s talking to my 25-year-old brother who knows that if his dad shouted at him, that’d be wrong. My 50-plus ‘Millennial at heart’ friend who hates boys night out where they crack sexist jokes all night long. My friend & ex-colleague whose husband is a hand-on dad who cooks like it’s his duty as much as hers.

Did you know that brands were acting as SJWs when they asked you to wash your hands 4 times a day, for 30 seconds each time?

That you needed to wear a deo?

That you need to floss your teeth?

They you need to get your vitamins?

That you need to safeguard your heart health with MUFA-PUFA loaded oils?

That you need life insurance for your families?


Well, dear men, you need to give up bullying for a healthy society.



Remarkable with a P.

The Minx recently came across a list of 10 books to read on #ContentMarketing and #DigitalMarketing. Purple Cow by Seth Godin made it to the top of this list.

Minx decided to get to know the Purple Cow better.

While the ‘4 Ps of marketing’, give or take a few, has been the marketing mantra for some time now, it is also true what Seth says about marketing in general: Marketing isn’t guaranteed to work, but the way things used to be, if you got all your Ps right, you were more likely than not to succeed.

Not anymore though. There is literally such a plethora of products that all the Ps – product, pricing, positioning, promotion, publicity, packaging, presentation – thrown in together still don’t make it successful enough. There was a time when you only had to look different. Like the various soap brands. There was a time when you had to be different. Like Maggi Ketchup slogan is ‘It’s different’. Maggi cracked awesome jokes through the inimitable but expert imitator Javed Jaffrey (Check out the funniest Maggi ads ever). Minx’s favourite is Javed playing Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s wife. And second favourite is Maggi imli pichkoo with the bwtccchahhh! sound.

This looking ‘different’ is no longer enough. Now, we’re rolling with remarkable. That’s the essence of the Purple Cow. Because cows, in case you’ve noticed, just like shampoos and detergents and holiday packages and credit cards… get boring and same-same after you’ve seen enough. But a Purple Cow would stand out. It would be remarkable. Remarkable with a P.

Like Godin says: In fact, if ‘remarkable’ started with a P, I could probably dispense with the cow subterfuge, but what can you do? That’s where I am reminded of this character in P G Wodehouse book series – a jolly chap named Psmith and described as Smith with a P. According to Wodehousian brilliance, ‘The P in his surname is silent (“as in pshrimp” in his own words) and was added by himself, in order to distinguish him from other Smiths.‘ Wodehouse understood Purple Cow, heck, heralded the Purple Cow through Rupert Psmith, a member of the Drones Club, a monocle-sporting Old Etonian who is something of a dandy, a fluent and witty speaker, and has a remarkable (that word again :-)) ability to pass through the most amazing adventures unruffled.

So that’s what today’s marketing needs. Purple Cow. Not Purple Cows. Because Purple Cow’S’zzzz – cow with an S – will become boring again. The opposite of remarkable.

So. The Minx in you should keep an eye out for the remarkable. The mktng Minx in you should strive to get to ‘remarkable’. With a P. That makes is the latest P of marketing.