Your New Year’s Resolution – Getting a Mobile Website

January 7th 2013
Written by:Nadir Shah    Comments: 0

Welcome 2013! Apart from the numerous resolutions that you must have made, I hope you’ve decided to optimize your digital presence for mobile platforms.  The nature of consuming information has changed drastically and it continues to change some more. So if you haven’t thought of going mobile yet, you better right away because by 2015 or so, you’ll have more people accessing your information via a mobile device than a desktop

mobile website benefits

But lets clarify what I mean by going mobile. I don’t really mean that you need to set up apps on the iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms. Sure they are nice to set up if you have the resources and can sustain their management (in which case you really should) but what’s more essential is to set up your mobile website. There are 2 main reasons why I say this:

– Mobile websites are cross platform. With one well crafted site, you instantly make yourself available on multiple devices. Ofcourse you have to come up with a design that looks good on all devices but that’s a problem that is easily solved.
– Mobile sites are faster and easier to set up. Essentially a mobile site is just another skin for your normal site so that when people view you on a mobile device you look great. And re-skinning is much easier and faster than coming up with specific design elements that are required for iPhone/android platforms.

So don’t waste time. Until you have something prepared for the iOS/Android platforms get your mobile site up and running; since this is one of those things that you can count as a low hanging fruit. Its quite easy to do and the benefits are enormous.


Day 1 highlights at Gitex UAE – how its all going mobile

October 14th 2012
Written by:Nadir Shah    Comments: 0

gitex 2012

Gitex 2012 kicked off with a bang today. With big names, innovative concepts and impressive stalls, day 1 wasnt all that bad. It was like a technical carnival where you had everyone coming together and showing off their service/product. From BI solutions to the latest noise canceling headphones, I saw a good mix of tech.

The one thing that really stood out was how mobile is a key unsaid theme for this year. About 70% of the people I met out there today talked about integration with mobile while explaining their product/service. Thats quite a big jump from last year where mobile wasnt built in as an inherent capability of their offering.

The other big things were ofcourse apps and social.  From TV companies like Samsung and LG to the guys behing Windows 8 …. All had to get a peace of the app action along with showcasing what they’re main goods.

Highlights for me when it came to day 1 however included the new Samsung 75 inch OLED TV, with kinect like features. I just loved the sleekness, the concept and how they managed to showcase the app integration as part of a television experience.

Watch the 7 second video clip: Samsung OLED TV at GITEX 2012

The other cool thing I saw today was the FORD stand. Those guys are automobile makers but do like their share of innovative feature building. Today they used Augmented Reality to  really showcase some of the features of their car. While the use of AR was not something truly novel and new, I did appreciate them coming up with the concept. Its more than what Ive seen anyone else do so far.

All in all quite an interesting day for technology in Dubai. Tomorrow will  bring interesting insight as well. I still havent seen indepth what Microsoft and Oracle have been planning. Plus a lot of BI tools being showcased. Good stuff happening all around


How not to use a hashtag – Newsweek #muslimrage strategy backfires

September 18th 2012
Written by:Nadir Shah    Comments: 0

Religion is a topic I consider very personal. If I have questions or need feedback I don’t usually broadcast them on my social channels; especially if I feel they can offend anyone I know.
That’s something that Newsweek didn’t seem to consider for their twitter strategy. The cover story for Newsweek this time was all about the commotion caused by that anti-islamic video that was released a little while back .
Newsweek created a hashtag #muslimrage and asked people to discuss their latest cover story.
Well don’t know what Newsweek were thinking, but they didn’t generate the buzz they were hoping to get. Very quickly the hashtag was being used mockingly and jokingly rather than sparking any intellectual debate.

#muslimrage from newsweek being made fun off

Ive read some of the tweets and man are they funny! Heres a couple of links that you can go to read a more indepth coverage.

Lesson of the day in using hashtags – When you have such a large population of the world that believes in something ….anything…you have to pay serious consideration to how offensive your messaging may sound to them. While some backlash may always be there, you don’t have to go out looking for it and inviting it.


A delightful social media getaway with BPG: 3 key social media points reinforced

September 13th 2012
Written by:Nadir Shah    Comments: 0

3 social media strategies

So get this… Bates Pan Gulf (BPG), one of the largest marketing solutions groups in the MENA region, invited the Emaar crew to attend their company off-site. The off-site was centered all around social media. And since Emaar embraces social media as an extremely important mechanism for engaging their consumers, we were pretty psyched to see what was in store for us.

Other than the terrific hospitable attitude of everyone in the BPG team (Thank you Mr. Avi Bhojani and Arif Ladhbhoy :)) there was also some interesting conversation around key social media strategies and trends. Speakers had been invited from different regions to share their views on social and talk about what they had been doing.

They key thing that I was glad to see reinforced there was that attitudes towards social are changing in this region. No longer is it all about the traditional approach to social which is…”I WANT MORE FANS!!”

Fans are definitely a good thing. But its not the only thing. And with bigger players now entering the market here, I wanted to lay down three key points that must be considered while making a social media strategy.

Build your strategy around engagement not Likes

Comscore and Facebook have reported the power of a like multiple times in the last couple of years.  But they don’t mean get as many likes as you can. Trust me that’s guaranteed. They stress the importance of the value of a like you receive, because through it  you are able to connect to your customer. You are able to understand what they want, account for their needs and improve your offering. In turn you get happy people buying more of what you have to offer, amplifying your brand message and really help you gain more exposure virally.

In any successful social media strategy the buy-in of the people and therefore engagement is necessary. So always ask yourself this when you make a strategy – will people interact and talk about the product in a positive light. Will it be insightful and will others learn from it, rally behind it and amplify it. If not, then chances are you aren’t on the right track.


Supporting Online Through Offline Initiatives

August 4th 2012
Written by:Nadir Shah    Comments: 0

One of the things I’ve noticed in the UAE is that our online initiatives, be they for whatever online media platform (facebook, twitter, website etc) seldom tap into how off-line promotion means that can help.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying no one does this. But considering the large number of businesses who can do this, there are a very few doing this right… in this region.

There is quite a big chunk these businesses miss out on because off-line initiatives can boost both long and short term online goals. While the above is quite important to consider for businesses that run totally online, its equally important for other established businesses who use on-line as a communication and promotions mechanism.

So here are 3 strategies I think businesses should tap into, to leverage off-line for their online goals

Tap into other media broadcasting platforms

In the UAE radio broadcasting is extremely strong. It’s a means that reaches thousands of people. Sure its above-the-line (ATL) nature may make it seem like its an inappropriate fit due it being impersonal when social is all about making that personal connections.  But it’s really strong for brand and offer promotions. We already see numerous companies advertising their events & promos through this channel. But what I don’t see is how their online presence is tied into this. And no I don’t consider the phrase “Like us on facebook at” as an effective tie-in into the online presence promotion 🙂

What I do consider as effective though are things like:

–          “Get the promotion details on our website/FB page and enter through there”

–          “View the new campaign video on facebok”

–          “tweet with the hashtag #heyXYZ to tell us you want to be part of the competition”

–          “results and winner info will be posted on  our website”

So the general gist as you can see from the above is to incorporate online as a required activity as part of your campaign. The challenge is doing it in such a way that it doesn’t seem daunting. The radio stations here do a great job when it comes to running their own promotion campaigns and are a good example you can look into to get some ideas.


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