How Important Is Branding For A Start-up?

Brand

These days it’s become a regular thing for almost every ‘A’ grade business school graduate to launch a start-up. One CEO, two engineers — and voila! A company is formed.

However, one needs to understand that there is more to launching a start-up than developing a killer app or product. Almost every branding, public relations and marketing professional would say the same thing i.e. “start-ups need to come out clearly with their message to the public (consumer) at the initiation stage itself”.

Even though you might find your business to be wonderful and sublime in every which way, it could have very little impact if it cannot make its own identity in the marketplace to stand out from similar enterprises whom in business language we classify as “competitors”.

Eric Pinckert – Managing Director of a LA based brand building firm, BrandCulture once said, “Start-ups need to think about branding from the start. Start-ups are actually positioning and branding themselves from the first time they ask a friend or family member to support their idea”.

Pinckert further added, “The problem is that as start-ups assess their priorities, branding is often thought of as something that comes later when they are ready to launch”. Like Pinckert there are several others who have also emphasized that personal branding of individuals that comprise the start-up can be a focus, since investors are looking for credibility in a team.

Although a great product is a plus point however if branding of the same is not done in the right way, it will not reach out to the target audience and stand tall among its competitors. However most of the start-ups still feel that branding is something that needs to be done later as it is looked at as a liability because of the heavy budgets involved in branding activities.

However they fail to note that big players in the market like Coke, Google, Yahoo etc. still spend a lot of time, money and energy in branding activities to sustain in the market.

What is branding? Branding is not merely giving a name to a product and launching it in the market. It is creating awareness and bringing loyalty towards your product / brand among the consumers. It can be done in various ways apart from the traditional branding activities eg: PR and social media platforms which are the latest method of quick branding and awareness among the target audience.

With latest developments in technology, a brand can be created or destroyed in seconds with mass consumer reviews online. Word of mouth has now translated into “reviews online” or viral campaigns that get shared within seconds over the internet.

Some ignorant strategists look at branding with the hope of generating direct business. They fail to understand that branding is not primarily used for generating sales. It is a medium to reach out to your potential target audience and create awareness for your brand which in turn brings in business and brand loyalty at a later stage. It is setting stage for your brand and paving in-roads into a market which might already have leaders in the segment you want to cater to.

Not to Forget: Amazon, Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram and virtually every tech company you can think of has become successful with not any traditional marketing activities but with just good PR, viral marketing, and word-of-mouth.

Now whichever side of the branding argument ‘to start early or wait’ you might fall on, here are few quick things to consider before you take a plunge:

  • Who is your target audience? – Knowing your target audience is a must!
  • Have you identified or checked your social media push or lack of it, tells you about your company at the early stage?
  • Does your CXOs and other leadership team using social media? If yes, then how do they use it?
  • If potential customers/users had to describe your product/company to someone else, what would they say about you or what would you want them to say about you?
  • Have you checked the message sent by your ideal larger companies whom you may want to emulate to their customers? And what tools do they use for the awareness program?
  • Have you thought about the message you would like to give to the general public through publications about your company and your products?
  • What does your website, which is quite often the first interaction point for users, say about your business?

Maybe all of the above questions would have popped up in your minds, if you’re a start-up. If not then give it a thought.

Aaron Shapiro, CEO of global brand strategy agency Huge once quoted, “In the tech world, there are no truly original ideas; everything is somewhat similar to what someone else is doing. So, you need a way to communicate what your start-up does with a special twist.”

We all know that every company can develop ideas, scrap ideas, make reports, do research and get back to the ideating stage whenever they want or whenever their products do not work in the market. However one might not get a second chance to create a first impression especially on the potential customers. So let’s keep branding closer and create a brand impact at the first instance itself!

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

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Blog To A Multi-million Dollar Company – Simplilearn’s Success Story!

success-formula

The economic slowdown of 2008-2009 taught many things to businesses as well as professionals worldwide; and one being the importance of having well-trained and certified workforce.

Today a skilled professional is valued by businesses who are ready to shell out more to get them on board. In one of the articles printed in PC World, CompTIA mentioned, “Businesses will typically pay a 10 percent premium for someone who has earned one of its entry-level certifications, and individuals with higher-level certifications can command a 40 percent mark-up.” (Source: PC World)

During and after the recession, the demand for skilled professionals increased and it became a tool not only to upgrade oneself but also to secure one’s job. This led to professionals hard-pressed for time looking out for smarter ways to learn against the traditional classroom trainings. That’s when Simplilearn, a new-age education company having its base in Houston, Texas and Bangalore, India entered the market with their approach to innovative learning called blended training – a mix of classroom and online training. They not only beat the competitors at their game but also became one of the biggest names in the professional certifications and trainings industry.

Krishna Kumar, CEO of Simplilearn looks back at the humble beginnings and meteoric rise of his company with fond memories, “Five years back I started a blog to help PMP aspirants to crack their examinations. In few months I had trained around 3000+ professionals and that’s when it struck my mind to turn it into a company to reach out to more potential professionals looking for PMP certification and thus Simplilearn was born on 8th April 2010. It is not wrong to say that Simplilearn was born at a time when more and more professionals were looking forward to get certified in professional courses in a smarter way.” Krishna further added, “It was a challenging but critical task to get the core team in place as I wanted an equally passionate team who believed in the business model and the future of education sector. Therefore the initial 20 members were selected carefully who were a mix of top B school graduates, freshers and professionals with experience in the training industry.”

The company initially trained only PMP aspirants through eLearning but the need to serve varying needs of a diverse and global audience gave birth to the blended model which was a mix of classroom and online training. The blended model was first introduced in Asia with the focus to become a leader in PMP training, however seeing a good response, couple of new courses were introduced. These new courses viz; ITIL, MS Project, Six Sigma and PRINCE2® were given away initially as complimentary courses to participants training with Simplilearn for their PMP certification.

In the far end of 2010 Simplilearn ventured out into the global scene with its first workshop in Singapore and later in Dubai. Soon the company spread worldwide over several geographies as well as introduced many more courses in their repertoire. Apart from increasing the number of courses, they also took care of the quality of the content which was of top most priority for them, no wonder 20+ global bodies have accredited their course-ware. “Utmost care is taken with the quality of our content and we try to incorporate every valuable feedback collected from our participants,” says Krishna Kumar proudly.

Simplilearn also has many firsts in their kitty as they were the first company to break free from the traditional classroom training and introduced the blended model where a mix of classroom and online trainings were imparted. Simplilearn believed in “Customer First” and introduced 100% money back guarantee to its customers apart from providing 24/7 support; which were a first for the education and training industry.

The company registered profitable numbers well within its first year of operation and achieved several milestones in the last four years. First major milestone being – training 100,000+ professionals worldwide in 2012. They also got their series A and series B funding of 3 million and 10 million each in quick succession which was again a major achievement.

Today Simplilearn has its major presence in US with a registered office in Houston, TX and is the number one choice for any professional, planning to take up certification courses. Being a company that believes in innovation and likes to keep pace with changing times, the Instructor-Led-Online training was introduced in mid-2013 for the benefit of professionals who are hard pressed for time to attend classroom trainings.

The Instructor-Led-Online trainings are not only a hit among individual professionals but also among the corporates, who could now save on costs and time by getting their geographically spread teams trained on one common online platform, ensuring a consistent training quality.

Prashant Parmar, Director in Simplilearn who was one amongst the twenty people who initially joined shares his experience, “Our continuous focus on understanding and addressing learners’ needs was critical for the introduction of a several industry-first features such as blended model of learning, 24*7 student support, online doubt clearing sessions and most recently the Instructor-Led-Online trainings. The common passion and a vision to become the one-stop destination for professional certifications in the world made us overcome every hurdle with a smile.”

Prashant also mentioned that apart from the above mentioned three differentiators, the strategies used by the company to stay ahead of competitors were; maximum use of technology, continuously innovating the business model and the solid team we put together. A closer look at the higher management team in Simplilearn will showcase most of the CxO’s to be top B-school graduates apart from them being ex-entrepreneurs coming together to take the company ahead on the global platform.

Today the company has trained more than 200,000 professionals worldwide and has around 300+ courses in three categories viz; Design, Technology and Business with a team of 2000+ well qualified trainers working towards the common goal of spreading knowledge in the professional certifications domain.

On being quizzed about the future plans for the company, Krishna Kumar said, “We are also looking at inorganic growth to increase our offerings and establish ourselves as World’s Largest Destination for Certification and Trainings.”

The success of Simplilearn in the last four years shows that if you are passionate about something then sky is the limit.

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.chaiwithshai.com. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

9 Mistakes Brands Should Avoid While On Social Media Platforms

Social-Media-Platform

Social Media is a huge thing today in the market. Every brand has a social media page or a profile to connect with their fans and target audiences. However are we on the social media domain only for the sake of being there because every other company has one? Or do you really believe in the magic of social media that will definitely help transform your brand online and in turn help sales.

Many so called experts who do not know much about the power of social media marketing feels that it is one more platform to generate sales and increase profitability. However it is not so. Studies show that as of January 2014, 74 percent of all internet users were on social networking sites. So it means, your brand has a huge chunk of potential fan base who can turn into your brand loyalists and spread the word for you if you connect with them correctly. In short, social media marketing or networking is an easier way to create awareness for your brand.

Creating a brand takes a huge effort however a small mistake can lead to hurting your brand’s reputation which in turn will lead to bigger and harsher consequences. In my opinion there are 9 mistakes every brand should avoid while they are on any of the social networking sites;

1) Giving Access to Wrong People: First and foremost you need to understand why you are on the social media networking sites. Obviously the answer is to connect with your potential fan base and to share your voice with them. How can one do that – simple, hire a social media strategist who has a good experience on the social media platforms.

Rather I have noticed couple of start-ups and brands who resort to hiring or engaging unqualified people with least experience on the social media platforms to cut costs. However they fail to understand that like any other marketing and sales function, social media is also a specialized field and a qualified individual will make a huge difference as every brand is unique and needs to be handled in a specialized way. So STOP involving people who have ‘ZERO’ knowledge about how social networking functions.

2) Stop Being Unoriginal: Being original always makes you unique and brings credibility to your brand. Therefore avoid sharing images, posts and information that you find on the internet that might tarnish your brand’s reputation. Like John Rampton (social media strategist) once said, “You want to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry, as well as engage your audience. But you can’t do that by rehashing the work of others.” So in short develop original content that will appeal to your specific target audience which in turn will increase traffic and promote sales.

3) Hijacking Hashtags: Create original and exclusive hashtag for your brand as studies have shown that pictures and posts shared with hashtags receive more likes than those without. Always use hashtag with caution as their might be times when your hashtag will be hijacked to tarnish your brand. A famous example is of McDonald’s who asked their customers to share their #McDstories without specifying much about the kind of stories they were intending at. Resultant, people spoke of their horrific experiences with McD rather than telling heartwarming stories that the brand was expecting. So always define your hashtag clearly so that it reaches the target audience instead of it getting hijacked.

4) Spamming Your Followers: Sharing posts on a regular basis is very important however do not get carried away and post too many that your followers might just unfollow you and move away. What is good for one social media platform might not be good for the other and therefore they are unique and different. So how much is too much, you might ask. According to popular studies one should follow the below frequency calendar for the popular sites viz; Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

  • Facebook: Although experts say 1 post every two days. Studies say max two posts a day, 7 days a week.
  • Twitter: 1 Post every four hours, however depending on your brand you can increase it to 1 Post every 2 hours on week days and 1 post every 3 hours on weekends.
  • Linkedin: Strictly 1 post a day and avoid weekends.
  • Google+: 2 Posts a day and avoid weekends.

5) Not Understanding Your Platform Of Choice: Only because there are several social media platforms it is not necessary for you to open an account everywhere. Understand which platform will work well for your brand and give you maximum exposure. Although Facebook is a popular medium it only gives exposure to 10% of your page followers rest you need to pay for boosting your post to reach out to wider audience because its business for both you and Facebook. Therefore it is necessary to understand the distinct nature or use of each platform to set realistic goals and to also get the maximum value out of marketing over a specific social media platform.

6) Social Media Can Replace Your Website or Blog: Social media platforms can never replace your website or blog. What works for you today might not work tomorrow on any social media platform. Therefore it is very necessary to link your social media platforms to your website or blog to divert traffic to them. Ultimately any form of marketing should bring value to your product and here it is your website or blog.

7) Not Tracking the Progress or Impact Of Your Social Media Platforms: Just being present on a social media platform does not help. One has to track if your posts are reaching out to your target audience and if they are driving traffic to your website or blog. Without researching on the same you wont be able to find out the effectiveness of your campaigns. There are several tools in the market which can help you monitor your campaigns viz; Spredfast, Sysomos, Viralheat, UberVU, Sprout Special and Google Analytics (which is widely and commonly used). Apart from the tools mentioned earlier, Social Media Examiner too has a guide that can help you track your ROI (Return on Investment).

8) Paying For Fake Fans, Likes and Shares: When you see huge number of fans and followers on your profile it might give you an ego boost. Moreover when you get likes and shares on every post you publish it is again a wonderful feeling as you can gauge from the response how popular your brand is among its target audience. However if the fans, shares and likes are genuine and not fake then you can actually be happy and ecstatic as brand awareness is automatically done by your genuine fans. Alas these days fans, likes and shares are doctored and bought which most of the time are fake and do not contribute much to your brand apart from giving you a false ego boost seeing the numbers. Avoid it completely!

9) Never Get Too Personal: Your brand will have its own identity and personality which is essential for it to stand out from other brands. It is also essential for the people associated with the logo to be identified in the market. However never get too personal with your social media profiles as it might hurt your fans sentiments and hurt your brand in turn. Sharing posts that might hurt people’s religious sentiments, political bent, gender or class discrimination apart from engaging in negative feedback eg: Amy’s Baking Company is something to be avoided completely as it will not only make you unpopular amongst your fans, but you will also lose out on genuine prospective fans as bad news travels faster.

These are few loud pointers one need to remember when you are building a new social media page or promoting an existing one. Say a big NO to these 9 pointers and then you can definitely see a better and wider reach for your Brand without hurting it on the social networking sites!

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

Largest Destination for Professional Certification & Training Revealed!

to-shaiju

Life has become more complicated these days with competition in every sphere of life. However the biggest challenge or competition one faces in their life is in their career. With increasing trends towards easing job technicalities and processes, new technologies are being invented, new studies are being researched and new processes are getting placed.

With growing competition, academic studies are not good enough, whatever you miss out in your set syllabus; one tends to learn on the job as well as through professional certification courses. However sometimes one needs to do more to stay ahead in competition and professional certification always add value to your resume. If you look around there are no dearth of professional certification courses in the world, as for every profession there are a set of courses one can do to polish ones skills and for upgrading oneself time to time. Similarly there are many institutions who conduct these courses worldwide.

In the year 2009, Krishna Kumar, a second time entrepreneur thought of starting a blog where he could help PMP aspirants to crack PMP exams. Few months into the blog Krishna had helped more than 3000 professionals and that’s when he realized the potential of helping more professionals by converting his blog into a business enterprise. Thus, Simplilearn.com came into being as a company in September 2010.

Today among competitors and in the general professional certifications and training world, Simplilearn is known as the ‘Largest Destination for Professional Certification and Training’. These claims are not futile when you look at the overall growth of the company in the last four years since its inception. No wonder it got its series ‘A’ funding as well as series ‘B’ funding in quick succession.

Today Simplilearn is a multi-million dollar turnover company with more than 200+ courses under 15 verticals, accredited by around 20 global bodies and over 200,000+ professionals successfully trained in 150+ countries of its presence. Apart from key achievements, the company stands firmly on the pillars of good content, quality training, certified trainers and flexible modes of learning.

When you take a look into the world of professional certification training companies, Simplilearn was the first company to introduce the blended model of training by which a professional could opt for his choice and mode of training. Blended model of training (which is nothing but a mix of Online, Instructor Led Online and Classroom trainings) was mainly introduced for individuals or professionals who wanted to take training, but could not due to busy schedules and travel hassles. With this model a person could learn anywhere, anytime. Ricardo Arnt a Software Architect in E-core IT who took up an online course in Cloud Computing says, “So what if you cannot go to the trainer, the trainer can come to you is something that the company believes in. I chose online training to learn at my pace and comfort. Moreover the way the concepts and activities were laid out was excellent.”

It’s not only Ricardo who has benefitted from the blended model of Simplilearn but he is one of the 200,000+ professionals trained by the company. Apart from individual participants there are companies like Accenture, Siemens, Abbott, Bank of America, Oracle and many more who have hired Simplilearn to train their employees and have benefitted with it. The blended model of training was also useful for corporates to impart same standard of training to their each and every employee irrespective of them being placed anywhere in the world.

With over 500 workshops held every month and 10,000 professionals getting trained on a regular monthly basis, Simplilearn is truly recognized as the ‘Largest Destination for Professional Certification and Trainings.” So what are you waiting for? Get Certified. Get Ahead. For more information please visit www.simplilearn.com

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

4 Major Trends In Social Media Marketing You Cannot Miss In 2015!

social-networks

With every year forward every trade analyst and market researcher predicts few trends to watch out for in the coming year. Like every marketing platform, even social media marketing can watch out for some notable trends in 2015. For most of the so called marketers, strategy for social media generally involves throwing some words in a box, posting, and linking it to their latest product or service and it is no rocket science to figure out that this kind of strategy will fall flat on its face. However, change-creators in the marketing industry like to do things slightly different. If we do some research around then we can conclude that most of the top brands go ahead and achieve greater success by using the following four social media marketing trends:

1) Video Marketing To Go Beyond YouTube: In the year 2014 one would have noticed that YouTube was used extensively for video marketing. However a general look on the social media platform will show subtly branded videos are today popping up everywhere—on Vine, Google+, Instagram, Facebook etc. reaffirming the theory that attention grabbing, innovative, short videos will not only be reserved to YouTube in the coming year – 2015.

Moreover the monopoly of YouTube was challenged when about 1 billion video views on an average every day were viewed as per Facebook Newsroom reports on Facebook. In September 2014, Facebook released a “call to action tool” for publishers and content creators where the tool invites consumers to visit a particular website, make purchases or view branded or related videos in an organic and natural way. So I foresee Video Marketing going beyond YouTube in 2015.

2) Expansion of Instagram Advertising: As per early predictions the future for paid social ads in 2015 looks fuzzy as the ROI for such paid ads are well below expectations. According to Forrester, “social media users do not engage with social content very often”. Their findings were based upon a study on 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven popular social networks out of which six achieved an engagement rate less than 0.1 percent for most of the brands. In short for every 1 million fans on Facebook for a certain brand, each post had around 700 likes which was very low.

However one should not get disheartened as the future for one growing social network i.e. Instagram isn’t all that bleak. Forrester’s report showcased that Instagram posts generated 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement on Twitter.

So what are you waiting for? If your brand is not finding success on Facebook, try Instagram instead in 2015. The social network isn’t reserved for youth-centric brands as companies like Ford and General Electric have found success on Instagram.

3) Brand Publishing Will Be The New Content Marketing: Yes you read it right! Brand publishing is the new content marketing as it is more authentic and transparent as it keeps consumers engaged for longer periods of time by building relationships. Unlike content marketing, brand publishing requires a little more care as some marketers foolishly believe that content marketing exists solely to sell a product which it isn’t. AdWeek insists that all content exists to tell a story, no matter the platform—from tweet or blog post. So, 2014s content marketers will evolve into content publishers in 2015.

4) Image-Based Content Will Be The New In-Thing: There is a huge misconception around that social media platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are only for selfies, home decor and recipes however it isn’t so. The image based social media platforms are going to be the first choice for many small and large businesses to help their businesses connect with their customers and fan-base. Many brands have understood the fact that visual stories help fans and general people to connect and identify with them and their products. Therefore showing off products, events and employees in pictorial format establishes the fact that your brand has a human side and allows your follower to get to know you a little better.There are many social media platforms and there will be many more coming in, however you need to understand that what might be good for one brand might not be good for the other. Understand the strength of your brand, identify your fan-base and then choose your social media platform to connect with them. Hope you and your business has a successful stint over the social networks in 2015!

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

Customer First – The Simplilearn Way!

Customer First

Professional training traditionally was once a small time business where trainings were considered as good as the trainer was. Therefore if you were a good trainer then you were booked all along to deliver trainings extensively. I remember once a trainer claiming to have delivered 52 trainings in a year where the training lasted for 5 days each. Wow! This meant, he trained every week of the year.

Now, let’s consider a scenario where a participant has undergone training, and post training he encounters a couple of queries which needs a trainer’s attention. In such a case how will he approach the trainer who trained him and get his queries addressed if the trainer is busy with other sessions and might not even be available on weekends and non-working hours? Moreover, the participant only paid for the classroom sessions and not for any post training support. In such a situation what would the participant do? Does he have to wait until the trainer gets some free time to address his query or does he go away without getting his doubts cleared? I am sure most of us who would have pursued professional certification trainings in the past would have faced a similar situation.

The training industry until now functioned in the above mentioned way but as times changed so did the training industry standards. With new age players like Simplilearn – one of the pioneers in the professional certifications industry, entering the market, there has been a boom and transformation in how participants look at training and certification. The focus for such new entrants were to give a customer-centric service.

On being asked about the professional certification training scenario these days, Krishna Kumar, CEO-Simplilearn says, “The industry has changed a lot in the last few years. One of the main features that attributed to our business model’s success was being ‘customer-centric’. In general, when a participant subscribes for a ‘course’ he is doing so to get trained effectively to crack his certification exams irrespective of who the ‘trainer’ is.”

Explaining Simplilearn’s customer-centric approach, Krishna says, “As per our business model, when a participant subscribes to a course, he immediately gets access to a world-class online training to prepare himself for the upcoming workshops that he would be attending. This is done to set expectations for the participant in terms of what is going to be covered in the training. Once the workshop is over, the participant gets access to 24/7 support to get their queries clarified and that’s something Simplilearn as a company promises and not the trainer. It’s immaterial who the trainer is, as again, the company takes care of identifying and getting the right kind of qualified trainers to do the ‘in-person’ live classroom training.”

The business model is also unique in a way that in case the participant does not get the desired result of passing the exam, the company has a 100% money back guarantee. Elaborating on the same, Krishna says, “For us our customer satisfaction is of great importance and therefore if any of our participants do not get the desired result from our trainings we give them a 100% money refund, however that is done only if they have followed all our instructions and taken up our practice tests to be exam ready.”

With players like Simplilearn entering the market with focus on their content driven courses, 24/7 support and money back guarantee, what was once considered a small time trainer-driven business today has become a multi-million dollar industry.

“We provide various ways to reach us in case our customers face any issues. Customer can either contact us through conventional methods such as contact us form on the website apart from email, chat support, phone or through our social media profiles and Simplilearn Community page, all of which are easily accessible and guarantees 24 X 7 support. This confirms our belief on “Customer First” and helps us provide a delightful customer experience at all times,” says Ashish Joshi, Senior Manager – Customer Delight at Simplilearn.

Explaining further on how the 24/7 support functions, Ashish says, “As soon as a customer contacts us from any of our contact mediums, he is assigned with a Client Support Representative (CSR) who owns the issue and takes it to the resolution point. This ensures that the customer gets a personalized support with just one person to update them about their ongoing issue.”

With such unique differentiators the company has become a hot favorite among its target audience. However, the entire business model is still a work-in-progress with occasional challenges thrown at them, that’s when they thought of setting up a separate team called VOC – Voice Of Customer. Any customer complaint registered via email or posted anywhere on the internet is monitored closely and resolved immediately by the VOC department. “Every customer complaint or issue is personally addressed by me so that the customer can be assured of being heard and also getting an immediate resolution. However there are times when false reviews and complaints are posted by competitors via fake id’s to tarnish our company image which cannot be helped. However we have thrived and succeeded in the market only on the basis of customer faith and goodwill,” explains Krishna.

Anthony Joseph, one of the participants who undertook Prince2® Foundation Test says, “I have tried taking coaching from other training companies, however the way I got prepared before and after the training by Simplilearn was awesome! Whenever I had doubts I could always approach them on phone, chat, email or even refer back to the online training sessions.”

The same sentiments are expressed by Binh Nguyen Van who took a course in PMP®, “Response from a customer support team person from Simplilearn has always been prompt. I appreciate it. Moreover I gained 40 PDU’s.”

As truly said by Krishna, the company definitely stays afloat only because of the customer loyalty and goodwill which can be gauged by the 200,000+ professionals worldwide who have trusted this brand for their certifications and excelled in their exams. With a repertoire of 200+ courses and many more to be added in the coming days, Simplilearn is slowly and steadily establishing itself as a one stop destination for every individual seeking professional certification training. With the customers on their side, the company is surely bound to reach mammoth heights in the coming years!

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

#Hashtag – Have You Tried It Yet?

hashtag

If you are a regular social media person then you would have come across many a post with a hashtag these days. Maybe you have also used it blindly, following the footsteps of others on your profile or in your social media circuit. However, have you wondered why most of the people use a hashtag? What is the importance of doing so? Have you heard of Twitter hashtags? Have you noticed why these days does trending topics on social media come with a hashtag attached to it? Probably you might have not given a thought until and unless you are a marketeer and trying to promote your or your client’s brand presence on the social media platforms with a hashtag. Today let me run you through the importance of a hashtag and if you can create your own.

Purpose Of Having A Hashtag: It all began as a humble idea where a tweeter adds the # symbol (popularly known as the hash key on your telephone) in front of a word or a word group with no spaces in between turning that phrase into a link. Moreover, by doing so you allow Twitter to categorize the tweet and group it with others who have tweeted using the same hashtag. So in a way, come to think of the hashtag as a keyword tag and it is quite simple to understand and when anybody searches for a particular hashtag then they might receive an entire list of tweets which contains that particular hashtag. It sounds wonderful as the person searching for the same is happy to see all the posts with that particular hashtag and so are you as the originator because you;

  • are projected to a new audience
  • have new participants to your conversation
  • opinions are visible to others and to whom it matters
  • found a like-minded audience who are eager to read what you have to say

But is that all one gets out of a hashtag? No, I am not done here because with the right hashtag added to your posts, the number of re-tweets go rising and in no time your posts go viral grabbing the attention of bigger and wider audience who are new and in turn you get a new set of followers too.

Benefits To A Marketeer: On a daily basis Twitter processes around 355 billion+ tweets and therefore a smart marketeer who does not want his tweet to get lost in the crowd, will carefully choose the most potent hashtags to reach out to his target audience eg: Domino’s Pizza UK reduced the price of its featured flavor by one cent each time someone tweeted with the hashtag #letsdolunch during pre-set times. Only one cent per order – but enough motivation to generate 85,000 tweets and an accumulation of “crowd-sourced savings” large enough to ensure some diners ended up with giant discounts.

So are you excited enough to create your own hashtag? It is not very difficult however you need to ascertain few things before you proceed.

  1. Decide upon a hashtag that you want to create.
  2. The hashtag should not be long and needs to be somewhat descriptive for your target audience to understand what it means.
  3. Run a search on the social media networks to find out if the hashtag is already taken or not.
  4. Register your hashtag on Twubs or hashtags.org

So now you are ready to start using your hashtag. Unlike a domain name, a hashtag does not have exclusivity as anybody can use it and there are times when someone might use it against you. These things cannot be controlled, however by setting up an automatic email alert tool might help you in identifying when and where your hashtag is being used ( I would suggest Twilert).

Initially it will only be you who will be using it, however do not worry as it will soon be picked up by your supporters and via them their supporters, in turn creating a chain. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start ‘Hashtagging’!

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

Why Big Corporates Prefer Simplilearn For Their Training Needs?

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In the last decade and a half corporatization has taken precedence and has entered in every sphere of business. Corporatization has not only smoothened and structured the traditional way of business culture but also encouraged many individuals to pursue a career in the corporate world.

The business quote ‘Employees are assets to a company’ has now been proved right with corporates actually investing in their employees. Investment does not mean giving higher pay packages or perks or facilities but investing in their career growth and skill upgradation which in turn benefit the company and its broader goals.

With improvisations and progress in technology and business practices day by day, enterprises find it convenient to train their existing employees or polish their skills time to time, rather than hiring new professionals.

One of the major determining factors of long-term profitability for any business depends upon the quality of employees and their development through training and education. Therefore most of the businesses feel that it is a good policy to hire and retain good employees by investing in their development leading to increase in their productivity.

There is a huge misconception around training where enterprises believed that it is needed only for new employees. However studies have shown that ongoing training for current employees often helps them to adjust rapidly to changing job requirements.

Some of the key reasons why businesses or corporates go for employee training and development these days are;

  • Creating a readily available pool of talent that can be apt replacements for employees who may get promoted or leave the organization.
  • It helps in enhancing the establishment’s ability to adopt and use technological advancements with the help of a sufficiently knowledgeable staff.
  • It helps in building an efficient, effective and highly motivated team that enhances the enterprise’s competitive position apart from improving employee morale.
  • Readily available human resources that can be adequately used for expansion of new programs.

Studies have shown that by training and developing its employees, enterprises have benefited in specific areas viz;

  • Increased productivity.
  • Financial gain resulting through increased efficiency.
  • Reduced employee turnover.
  • Less or no need for supervision.

There are enterprises that tie up with universities or fund their employees to pursue further studies that will help them to gain the required skills and degrees to take them ahead in their career as well as . Apart from management studies companies also encourage their employees to take up professional certification courses too.

There are many players in the market who engage in providing professional certification courses and trainings, however beating them in their game is Simplilearn. Starting from a blog in 2009, Simplilearn today is a multi-million turnover enterprise and has successfully trained more than 200,000+ professionals worldwide.

The reason Simplilearn is a preferred choice among the corporates today is because of its unique blended model of training which is a mix of online, instructor led online and classroom trainings. The blended model is something that every corporate or professional hard pressed for time would love to go for – as they get a uniform quality of content and training in every mode of training.

As Ken Wohlrob Senior Director at Random House Publishing Group says, “My overall experience with the training was good, the trainer seemed to have good knowledge on the subject and was able to present it well. The trainer made the live virtual classroom training very comfortable. And the content was very useful and it surely is a lot of learning in one day.”

With a repertoire of 200+ courses accredited by more than 20 global bodies, the course content and quality is something every participant would vouch for. “The training was good, the trainer was able to impart the training well and the course curriculum definitely met my expectations. Today I feel I am at par with any of my peers whether new or old and am confident of carrying out my duties well and would also survive any competition” said Rakesh KV who is a manager in TESCO.

Similar sentiments are expressed by Kevin Geddert – Business Improvement Specialist in Savanna Energy Services Corporation had to share, “All the participants feel that the course was a hit. We had Senior Ops guys participating, and the objective was not to get certified but understand the process. The trainer was a perfect fit for these folks. He explained statistics in a way that engaged highly non-mathematical folk, and by the end of the course we were having passionate analytical discussions.”

Today among competitors and in the general professional certifications and training world, Simplilearn is known as the ‘Leading Destination for Professional Certification and Training’. These claims are not futile when you look at the overall growth of the company in the last four years since its inception. A sneak peek into their client list which includes names like Dell, Accenture, KPMG, Mahindra, BOSCH, HCL and many more will tell you why big corporates have engaged with Simplilearn time and again.

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Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

Big Eyes – Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz Rock!

The awards season are here and so are my reviews of the latest movies that are receiving some wonderful accolades at these functions. So today I am going to start the series with Tim Burton produced and directed real life story of Margaret KeaneBig Eyes. The movie stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz who have been winning one award after the other.

The story tells the turbulent relationship between Walter Keane (Waltz) and Margaret Keane (Adams). Margaret is a good artist who paints children with big eyes. Her work go majorly unnoticed in the early 1950’s and soon she falls in love and marries Walter Keane a fellow artist who promises to give her and her daughter Jane (Delaney Raye) security and protection from her ex-husband.

Walter soon starts showcasing her and his creations at every gallery and influential people unless a tiff in a bar makes him a national figure and mistakes Margaret’s paintings to be his. Soon people start noticing his work (originally made by his wife) and he becomes a national celebrity and the big eyes kids paintings become a sensation. Using his marketing savvy, he sells the prints cheaply in hardware stores and gas stations across the United States while Margaret is relegated to the background.

Slowly the tensions between the couple heighten when an intoxicated and infuriated Walter tries to set fire Margaret and Jane who escape to Hawaii. Margaret lodges a complaint against Walter claiming the ownership of the paintings ending up in an ugly court fight.

Performances by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz is outstanding. Both the actors fit the role to the ‘T’ and bring to life the celebrity couple onscreen. The story, screenplay and dialogues are quite gripping. The period setup looks authentic. Tim Burton has done justice to the subject and comes up triumphant.

On the whole its a wonderful movie and therefore every accolade coming its way is well deserved.

My Verdict: ****
Poor – *, Average – **, Good – ***, Very Good – ****, Excellent – *****