Stock Photos vs Real Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words

Whenever it comes to an advertisement design to a brochure or a website design we all crave for that perfect picture which reflects the emotion that the brand wants to evoke in the heart and minds of the consumer. And with this thought the most common thing which is done first is to go on to Google images or any Stock Image website, enter the keyword and start the mega search for that one perfect picture which can fit into a print ad, billboard design, brochure and a website.


This is the approach 9 out 0f 10 brands and designers are taking, then how does your visual stand out and make the right connections? The answer is – you just can not unless you have some super skills to search for the image which no one else could.


BRIM Ahmedabad

Make an impression with Real Pictures

The reason why stock images are widely used is for the convenience if offers and sometimes also for it being free if you manage to get it on Google Images and nobody eventually sues you for it. But as they say nothing worth having ever comes easy.

To make the real emotional connection with the audience the picture needs to be unique, realistic and reflect the culture.

Here I have compared the most recent advertising campaign of Ahmedabad’s two of the most ‘eyeconic’ brands – R. Kumar and Sheth Opticals to show what impact the Real Pictures have over Stock Photos. Both of this brands are heavy media spenders and here are the most recent ads this brands released in The Times of India. The focus of both this ads is around Uttarayan which is Diwali for the optic players.

R Kumar

R. Kumar – The Joy of Seeing | Ahmedabad Times


Sheth Opticals

Sheth Opticals – Iss Baar Udaenge | The Times of India

This are big ads where big money has been spent so there are very less chances for somebody to miss them out – Attention Grabbed!

But who made a better connection? While I liked the Hinglish copy of Sheth Opticals – ‘Iss Baar Udaenge’, the visuals of R. Kumar are surely more attention grabbing for it is more real – more Indian and the supporting copy about the eye wear style of Diya, Anamika and Ria smartly communicates the product range too.

How i wished Sheth Opticals would have invested in the photo shoot and replaced this foreign faces with the real Amdavadis which would have made it a more believable campaign. Just inserting the few kites in the background does’t really impress and connect.

Stock Images vs Real Photos – know the difference

Stock Photos vs Real Pictures

If you would like to explore of how you can use more of real pictures in your brand communication without burning lots of money then feel free to reach out to me on


5 misconceptions about Digital

In past 6 months I have been interacting with many folks and companies who want to build a strong digital presence. And this makes me thrill that more and more people want to grow digitally. But the problem is that most of them have many misconceptions about digital.

To clear some of this misconceptions, here I am sharing the list of 5 things – Digital is Not!

1. Digital is not just about Facebook

Digital is not Facebook

Yes Facebook is where all of us spend maximum time. But then going digital just doesn’t mean setting up a Facebook Page and getting likes.

2. I have a great looking website

Website without traffic is not useful

You have a new website, great! You have put the website address on your business card, email signature, letter head….but that’s not enough. Website needs traffic and you will have to do more than just printing the website address on your stationery.

3. Digital is Difficult

Digital is not difficult

Yes, it is not easy but everything new will always be difficult unless you are willing to learn. There are enough resources online to get you started.

4. Digital can be completely outsourced

Digital can't be outsourced

How can one expect somebody else to know your customers better than you. Digital agencies are required but then you also need to keep your skin in the game.

5. Digital is a futuristic thing

Digital is Today and not in future

Digital is no more a distant thing which will happen in future. It is already here and we better start paying attention to it.

There is no expert, no magic wand for digital. You will have to get into it, learn it and master it to rule it.

Realty Players Building Bridges for a New Era

2001 – 2013, the 12 years of Modi Era, marked by progressive policies and smart development governance ensured that Ahmedabad and many other cities of Gujarat get recognized as some of the fastest growing cities in the world.

The Modi Era has been a golden era for the real estate sector of Gujarat, witnessing a huge expansion and an all round development.  This again has been possible only because of Modi government’s progressive outlook for developing infrastructure at a quick pace and for all strata of society.

The returns on the real estate front in past decade has been so profiting that in last few years developers from all over the country have ventured into Gujarat by collaborating with the top realty players of Gujarat.

But now the Modi era for Gujarat is over and the Anandiben’s Queen Era has begun. But being a disciple of Narendra Modi, it is very much expected that Anandiben will continue to follow the path laid down by the former CM of Gujarat.  But the real estate sector of Gujarat is taking no chance and has started building bridges with the new Chief Minister – Anandiben.   The big advertising splash in the newspapers to welcome the new CM by the leading realty players like Safal, Ganesh Housing, B Safal, Iscon is a testimony of this fact.

Anandiben Patel

With Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister there is a huge optimism for the economy to finally start reviving. More importantly the entire nation is expecting Narendra Modi to replicate Gujarat Model of progress across the country. And with ex CM now being a PM and his loyalist becoming a CM, I am sure that the real estate sector of Gujarat is set to see some unprecedented growth.


9 Gujarat Brands that jumped on Election Bandwagon

The whole of India is currently gripped by the Election fever which has caught the attention of everyone concerned including individuals and companies alike.

Even as political parties are enthusiastically turning their candidates into brands, the actual brand owners from Gujarat are also joining the poll pitch too by offering discounts on food, apparel, accessories, spa treatments to creating campaigns asking people to vote responsibly on 30th April.

Here is a compilation of 9 such election based campaigns by brands of Gujarat

1. Sahi Chuno by Wagh Bakri Tea




2. Ink with Infibeam



3. Dabaa Ke Bajaa by Red FM




4. Vote for tummy party – discounts offered by TGB



5. Ungli Uthao Discount Pao by Sheth Opticals




6. Discount offered by Deepkala Silk Heritage




7.  50% discount by Starz Club




8. Vote 4 Win by Uninor Gujarat




9.  Vote for Fit India by Fitness Point


NavGujarat Samay fails to deliver on ‘Samay’

The launch of the latest entrant in the Gujarat newspaper industry – ‘NavGujarat Samay’ by Times group was eagerly awaited by the competitive newspaper as well as the readers. The wait was bit longer than expected as NavGujarat Samay (NGS) which was originally slated to get launched in October 2013 got launched only recently on 16th Jan 2014. But the smart thing NGS and Times group did in this time was to garner more and more subscriptions by a very lucrative offering of 5 month subscription at a peanut price of Rs.99/- + few freebies. This offer was too tempting for anybody to decline, especially when it is backed by a highly credible and experienced group like Times group. This created a perfect ‘BIG’ launch platform for NGS. And come January 2014 we were seeing city of Ahmedabad painted blue with the outdoors of NGS and its lion.

NavGujarat SamaySo till now out of 4Ps of Marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place (distribution), 2Ps of Price and Promotion were handled really well by NGS and Times group. On and after the launch was the real test of other 2Ps of Product and Place (distribution). My personal observation on the Product was that it was much below my expectation. The newness and freshness I was expecting from a product coming from the Times group was missing and it came across as a non-serious newspaper. But where NGS really faltered was the last P – Place (distribution), the most critical in the newspaper industry. However good product you have, attractive pricing it carries and all the promotions you do is worthless if your newspaper doesn’t get delivered on ‘samay’ to every household.

Soon after the launch I got many of my colleagues, friends and associates complaining about them not receiving the copy of NavGujarat Samay inspite of making cheque payments for the subscription long time back. I thought of inquiring more on this, to check if it was just with a limited group or is it the trend all over. This probe of mine took me to NavGujarat Samay’s facebook page where on reading the reviews I found so many agitated customers complaining the same thing. Many of them have gone on to accuse NGS and Times Group of cheating them. And the worst that could happen is that the helpline no. which was set up at the time of subscription drive seems to remain non answered to subscribers complaints.





NGS_6I am surprised that the largest media group of India which carries more than 175 years of experience can slip up like this with their new product in a highly competitive market. At the same time I hope that Times group will soon be able to solve this issue and curb this negative brand perception being created among the NGS subscribers.

(Till now on Brand Charcha I have been avoiding to make any media group or its offering as a matter of subject for any of my posts in here. This was a conscious decision considering I ‘was’ myself working with a media house till very recently. But now I am going on to a completely new path, a new journey in a new industry – ‘Pharma’ which has given me a self-permit to do ‘charcha’ on the Gujarat media brands also)

The Facebook Problem

Just two years back there was a scenario where brands, atleast the Gujarat’s based brands were not too sure or excited about being on Facebook, but now I see everybody wants to be there – ‘Facebook page to hovu j joiya’, which is good but what is frustrating is that hardly any of them are getting it right and even if some are then they are faltering away in sometime.

In this post I am sharing about two Facebook pages and the ‘problems’ I see with them

  1. Havmor – one of the most popular ice cream brands
  2. City Shor – started as a Facebook page providing recommendations on food, home decor, travel, fashion and later evolved to be an independent website


3.9 years on Facebook and Havmor has managed to get 2.0 lac+ fans – probably the maximum for any of the Gujarat grown brands. So what’s the problem?

These two maps from Havmor’s website shows the spread of no.of outlets Havmor has in Ahmedabad and Mumbai.


With such a heavy presence in Ahmedabad as compare to Mumbai, you surely expect Ahmedabad to have more Havmor customers than in Mumbai and the common sense co-relation would be that the similar trend is there on Facebook, with Havmor having more fans from Ahmedabad. But there is a doubtable surprise!


This screenshot from Havmor Facebook page shows Mumbai as the most popular city. For a brand like Havmor which is a household name in a social media savvy city like Ahmedabad, isn’t this hard to believe?

City Shor

Launched on December 15, 2012 – City Shor captured the imagination of large number of FB Amdavadis for their very interesting reviews about ‘lesser known’  restaurants, shops, travel places. With this powerful and genuine content they managed to surge pass 1 lakh fans just under 7 months on July 12 – adding almost 14,000+ fans every month, pretty extra ordinary!


That’s the good part of City Shor story and now the ‘Problem’ –

Since July 12 to September 21st i.e 2 months and 10 days City Shor has managed to add just another 12,103 fans, bringing down the their monthly new fan base average by -30%. This is a reverse trend to what I have been observing wherein the pages which cross 1 lakh likes start seeing improvement in the average number of fans added every month – the social effect, but here it is declining. Neither is their engagement improving with just about 5% talking about the page.


So where is the problem?

  • Losing the niche – City Shor was loved for it gave Amdavadis a chance to explore the unexplored – stuff we didn’t knew about or haven’t seen before. But as the months passed we started seeing the content which was not so amusing- new dishes at Dominos, Balaji Wind Park photographs, to the  discounts at the big brand stores – all this people are advertising loud enough for us to be aware of them,  so seeing them at a platform which is for the unexplored was disappointing
  • From being Social to Unsocial – Off late we have seen too many ugly arguments between the fans and the City Shor admins for the disagreement on the reviews posted by them. Also they have been copying the movie reviews from other pages and the worst thing has been that they started deleting the comments and blocking people with whom they were not able to argue enough. On Social media the power is with people and you cannot afford to fight against them or suppress their voices.
  • Getting desperate – people have liked City Shor for the reviews believing that they are genuine and non commercial in nature.  But they have now started inviting ‘businesses’ to get their reviews done – how am I suppose to believe their reviews any more?


Havmor seems to have ‘managed’ to generate likes but are they of any value to the brand? City Shor managed to generate great deal amount of engagement by providing solutions to the Amdavadis dire need to know and explore new stuff but as they started to diverge from what they started out to do, the engagement has fallen significantly.

The brands who are getting on to Facebook need to realise that it is not only about ‘likes’ on Facebook, but more importantly it is about engaging with your audiences by talking to them, listening to them and solving their problems every single day.

Smart way to create a ‘bandhan’ with female target audience

Come Rakshabandhan, one common shopping item for all the ladies to buy is a beautiful rakhi for their brother/s. And more often than not females go to the small neighbourhood shops or the laaris/thelas where this rakhis are sold.

So this time around when my mother and wife came back home after doing their rakhi shopping, I noticed that their rakhis were packed in non woven cloth bag, which was surprising to me because all the neighbourhood shops in our locality would not or could not afford to give more than a plastic bag. But here were 2 rakhis worth not more than Rs.100, purchased from a laari, packed in non woven cloth bag and I was like how?

On inquiring with my wife she told me that these bags were provided by Khushi Foods to all the street vendors selling rakhi, so that they can pack the rakhis in it instead of their regular plastic bag. And these bags branded with Khushi’s Garlic Magic also contained two sample sachets for Garlic Magic and Pizza Mix Magic. And when I heard this, I smiled at the smartness shown by Khushi Foods in reaching out to the female target audience.


Non woven bags by Khushi foods for free distribution at rakhi shops

This is what I liked about Khushi Foods free bag initiative

  • Knowing where the target audience is – at rakhi shops and laaris
  • Solving a problem – helping the rakhi seller save money on plastic bags by providing a good quality bag and also ensuring that the delicate rakhis are packed well
  • Good deed yields good benefits for brand – by providing a good quality bag to carry a rakhi, Khushi food can be assured of a good brand recall among its female TG.
  • Free sampling – by distributing free samples alongwith the bag, Khushi foods has exhibited a strong positive confidence in its product, which should trigger sales.
  • Cost-effective solution – the free bag initiative would surely have costed much lesser than traditional advertising mediums – print, outdoor, tv and radio.

I feel more and more brands, especially the growing ones who do not have huge advertising budgets, should take a cue from Khushi foods and start identifying where their target audience is and invest money, energy and ideas over there.