A Gold River in Makassar

A Gold River in Makassar

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. . . is Present

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Any of you ever heard of Marina Abramović ?

Frankly speaking, her name never crossed me until recently I found out about the collaboration that happened between her and Gaga. I then headed to Wikipedia to look into her. I was intrigued to check on her art performance on YouTube. I watched some of her performances and found myself aghast. I was a total noob for this kind of art performance. Up to this point, I considered her actions as pointless and very odd (I watched the videos where she bumped herself into the wall, pressing herself to a big mirror, some people masturbating and a very disturbing animation video of woman inserting fish into her vagina). Then came another big collaboration of her with a rapper, Jay Z. That got my attention so this time I decided to put aside my initial thought on her and tried to understand what someone like Marina’s actually doing.

I watched this documentary about her performance in MOMA. I was very skeptical when I first tuned in to this documentary. Some cuts were pretty graphic and inconceivable. I did not get what her “performance” had to do with art. But then, I got to see a glimpse of her early years with her companion and a tiny part of her childhood. I saw a link and reasoning there.

But what really gets into me from this HBO’s documentary is her art performance in MOMA, called The Artist is Present. It is the exact title that’s used as a title for this documentary. Those of you who reside in US might have heard of it since it’s pretty controversial back then. People getting naked in museum being treated as art and Marina herself was the main attraction of the crowd. People were lining up nights before only to be able to sit in front her and stare into her eyes. At first, I did not get the whole point of this, at all. I thought it was pretty odd, sitting in an big plain room with many people watching. Then I got to see that many visitors sat down and felt the kind of affection from Marina’s eyes. She was present. She sat there and simply being present towards her visitor. She smiled, she cried, she looked deep into the person sitting in front of her.

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An interesting comment came from one of MOMA’s people (I think so, CMIIW). He said Marina always gave the impression that she’s in love with the person she’s interacting with. It’s her full presence that made it so.

No wonder many had the tenacity to wait long hours only to be able to sit in front of Marina. Even from a screen, I could feel how warm and fully present she was towards the visitors. She looked deep into each pair of eyes, felt every emotion, letting out smiles and even tears along with the visitors. And I agreed with a commentator mentioning how Marina made the person she’s interacting with, felt as if becoming Marina’s lover because of the full attention she’s giving out.

But it is sad to see that in the society, we as human beings are losing our grip on our life.

With these days’ technology, everyone is always seemed to be attached to some gadgets. Be it the increasingly omnipresent smartphone or tablets or computer or television or anything else. You can always find a group of friends or family hanging out and some seem real busy with their gadgets while ignoring the other bunch who are interacting.

And not only that, as a human being, we are accustomed to deal with everything in a brisk manner. We constantly forget to be there during the whole process. What we want is always the final result. This whole thing is slowly making ourselves become a robot.

With Marina’s art performance, I learned that we can get ourselves back to the right track. Back to the way it’s supposed to be. How? By being present whenever and wherever we are. It is to make us appreciate more and be more responsive to what is happening at the present time instead of just chasing the wind with no clear direction.

Be present and make a difference. Be present and spend more quality time with our loved ones.

That’s why I keep “. . . is Present” as a title of this post. Fill in your name in the blank space and utter it to yourself, “. . . is present”.

Ready to see yourself evolving to become a better you 🙂

Art of War in Business

Wow! It’s been a month since my last post on this blog. So, where were we?

A little background on what I about to discuss here: JoCom (if you realize it stands for Jonn’s Communication. Sounds tacky, I know. LOL), a mobile network provider wanted to fight its way to get into top 3 place in terms of market share.

In this case, we’ll be able to see how market research plays a significant role to determine what steps need to be taken in their next strategy. They conducted a nationwide market research. In order to get this research effective, they set the objectives; what kind of output they wanted to see as the end result.

JoCom is a relatively new and smaller company if being compared to other settled top 3 companies. But… First things first, I’d like to quote Sun Tzu’s The Art of War,

             ” Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success”

“Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak”

That’s exactly what JoCom did. They wanted to see what their competitors were missing and “attack” them with those. But before that, they had to discover: What were their strengths that needed to be reinforced and their competitors’ weakness that needed to be attacked? There must be something. In order to do that, they decided to put everything back to basic.

They wanted to discover what the ideal mobile network was like for their all respondents (users of their service and non-users/users of their competitors). They attempted to figure out what was it that non-users like from their service and and what their current users dislike of this service.

Naturally, we would ask our users why they like of our service and non-users of what they dislike. But with this reversed method, we will get the best of the answers.

By asking non-users on what they liked of the service, JoCom would be able to strengthen their good sides. And spontaneously, they also got what it was that make those people avoiding their service notwithstanding those good sides. And by asking their current users on things they disliked, it would help Jocom to avoid losing their current users. You know, patch the hole before it gets too big and irreparable! And they also would be able to discover the things that made current users trusted their company in the first place and what made them stick around.

The final result of the research brought unexpected things to surface. They rediscovered the whole company and bit by bit, they were getting where they aspired to be.

You see how important it is to have a goal in everything we do, especially in business. By having a goal first, we’d be able to plan ahead to reach that goal and succeed, just like JoCom and its goal to be the top 3 player in the market. They knew precisely what they wanted to achieve and they found the way to reach that very goal. That is by winning the competition. In whatever business you are having, besides having a clear goal, it’s also crucial to know what it is that makes you ahead of your competitors and what it is that you are left behind.

To quote Sun Tzu’s Art of War,

“You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.

You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.”

Market Research. How Does it Work? Part Deux

On my last post, I have provided a study on how a market research works perfectly prior producing mass products in the market. Now, we will see another case how market research has become something common to big players in business.

I am pretty sure anywhere in the world, telecommunication holds a great deal in every single aspect of a living. Telephone as a mean of modern telecommunication has evolved into something that was inconceivable in the early days of its invention.

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From a cable dependent telephone to a wireless one. From a conventional phone call to video call. From a simple text message to a picture message. From your hand to the world with Internet.

As time goes by and as technology evolves, telecommunication company has to evolve to support the even more demanding customers. I think you know where I am taking you with this. Yes, let’s use the highly competitive cell phone carrier industry as a case!

It’s common in a country to have multiple cell phone carriers. In general, no matter where we reside, we’ll have two kind of cellular service: GSM and CDMA. GSM is the biggest player in terms of market share in the industry. Competition in providing the best GSM service is rigid. Every company will try their best to gain the biggest piece of pie chart in the market.

Here we have JoCom, a struggling mobile network operator in a country with 7 other competitors. JoCom was one of the new comers due to the emerging number of cell phone users in the country. Data has shown that the number of cell phone users has reached its peak since the release of cell phone itself. Top 3 place were held by long existent companies. JoCom has been operating for 3 years yet they haven’t seen anything significant with the number of users.

They know they need to do something with their brand and their service in order to gain more share. Releasing more promotion like affordable service did not gain them anything decent. It hit them later that they had to recognize what kind of market they should really aim and what do these people really need of a cellular company. They decided to take the basic approach.

A big market research was conducted in several big cities that was believed to be representing the total inhabitants. A sample number was set with a precise calculation.

Now you must be wondering what sample number has to do with total number of inhabitants. In market research, we have two big methodologies to gain data.

1. Quantitative methodology

2. Qualitative methodology

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As the word itself suggests, you might presume that quantitative has to do with numbers. Yes, you are right. With this approach, you will have to deal with a great deal of numbers. If you love statistics, this is definitely your field! In this technique, mostly it will be done throughout questionnaire. You may find people stop you somewhere or even calling you up to answer some queries, this is actually one of the technique used to collect data.

But as two sides of a coin, this approach can not solve more in-depth query.

This is where a qualitative approach chips in to give out some help.

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Qualitative methodology has been known by many as a method in answering the “why” to every answer. Why is that? No pun intended for this one J

Because unlike in quantitative technique where you are limited to the multiple-choice questions and very little of open-ended questions, in qualitative technique, you will be able to meet the consumers directly and probe as much as you need with only time as your concern.

The limitation of it though lies on the number of number of samples. Since it’s an in-depth research, meaning you will mostly go to one-by-one interview or group discussion, you won’t be able to cover hundreds or even thousands of consumers like you do in quantitative method. In-depth research takes time; the interviewing time and the analyzing time. That’s why in terms of cost, with the same number of samples being used, qualitative research is more pricey than quantitative one.

This post has been quite a long one as I planned to make it as readable to anyone who does not like reading much.

On my next post, I will continue on JoCom and some other hands-on explanation. Make sure you follow and check it out!

Market Research, How Does It Work?

On my previous post, I have given a little explanation on what market research is. Now let’s take a study case to have a firm grip on the subject.

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Take a company called, XYZ, a leading customer-goods manufacturer in a country. They produce snacks in various type. If you ask people what brand will they think of when you ask them about chocolate cracker, XYZ is their top-of-mind brand. In other words, they are currently in good standing compared to their competitors.

As most business do, they want to expand. They want to invent a new snack category. They want to make an equivalent of pancake but make it as snack that will taste like crackers. Yeah, I know that weird. But hey! We’ll never know how it taste until we have a bite, right?

Back to the topic, so this company has done their research, in terms of taste, look and package design. The product itself is ready. But, the problems starts arousing when they distribute the products to stores. Sale number is not impressive at all. It is mortifying. Customers don’t like it or should I say, customers are not buying the whole concept of it. Do you see where the real problem lies?

Yes, 100 points for those who guess correctly. They invented this new category without any knowledge on how their customers-to-be will react. They produced the products without any assurance whether there will be any buyers or not.

You know what they should have done before they spend all their big budgets in producing their products and distributing all across countries? You are right. Do some research on the market. Have some product testing to see how the market will react to this product prior to the big launching. They should have created some samples and invite some people in the targeted market that will actually represent them into group discussion to talk over this product. It is done to get inside of the head of their consumers-to-be.

By having that discussion, the manufacturer will get the idea on whether the whole concept is acceptable in the market. Then if it is acceptable, how good their product will satisfy them in terms of taste, size, package and other intangible stuffs like emotional needs.

This is one of many sides in market research. I will give out other study case that will showcase how market research comes really handy when it comes to making the best out of your business.

Market Research. What is That?

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I am currently living in this very industry and people often ask me what exactly people do in Market Research and at the very base of it, what Market Research really is.

First off, let’s start with the definition of market research itself. What is the real meaning of it exactly and what does it do?

According to Merriam Webster, research and market have their meaning separately as follows:

 

Market 

the area of economic activity in which buyers and sellers come together and the forces of supply and demand affect prices <producing goods for market rather than for consumption>

Research

1. studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

2. the collecting of information about a particular subject

 

Based on the definitions we gathered above, it is safe to conclude that market research is an activity of collecting information and studious investigation aimed at the discovery interpretation of facts in the area of economic activity in which buyers and sellers come together and the forces of supply and demand affect prices.

Wait! So this research thing has nothing to do lab jackets? Sadly to say, no. Research is not a discipline limited to chemical elements. And one of the discipline of it is in marketing field, which makes us learn about market research.

To put it simple, market research is a specific study based on the market condition of a certain product/company. Market research is actually the middleman between a corporate and consumers. Why would people call it as middleman? Because it is really the bridge between those two. Customers know what they want in terms of products and service. They have their own thought and they need the medium to sound that opinion. Customers can’t connect directly to manufacturers so this is where market research comes in between. This research in the market will allow producers understand what the need of the consumers are.

We are done with the definition. Now let’s move on to a case which will come really handy to get full closure on this gigantic and growing industry.

 

 

Santé !

Brem Bali
Brem Bali

Brem is the traditional fermented food/beverage from Indonesia. There are two types of brem, brem cake (solid) that usually eaten as snack and brem beverage (liquid) made of rice wine from Bali and Nusa Tenggara, but mostly known from Bali.

They said aside from being consumed, this brem beverage is also used in temple ceremonies in Hinduism.
The alcohol level ranges from 5%-14% so it won’t take you down by having some. 😀

Make sure you have some while in Bali! 😀