These Kinds of Stuff Do Not Matter. Really?

Sumana Khan March 26, 2020 0

Although Mr Donald Trump in his recent visit to India, addressed the thunderous 1.25 lacs crowd at Motera, Gujarat, his words echoed in the ears of 1.2 billion people of the country. It is not because he made a remarkable speech or displayed a great oratory skill, but, because of the content, his speech had.

If Swami Vivay Kamundundd disgusted us,  Soo Chin TinDulkr, enraged us. If ShowRay confused us, Delhi Lama terrified us. If Omit Shah made us laugh, Veerut Kuulie made us wondered, who the hell is this guy.

With Val Hallah Bhai Patel, however, we have become the Classical Conditioning Case of Pavlov’s Experiment in last roughly six years.

Nonetheless, although DDLJ could draw some light giggles, what he failed to pull through is his resonance with the Indian audience, unlike Mr Barrack Obama, whose bade bade deshon mein….you know what I mean., during his last visit to India, is still remembered with great respect.

It is not only about what the content is, but who it is coming from, who it is addressed to, from which platform it is released, what’s the occasion or the context, what is the objective, and what would be the expected outcome- these come as a halo effect to the words scribbled and spoken.

Mr Obama, known for his great oratory skills, has always charmed the world with his speeches. A little diving into one of this well-known last farewell speech would give know-how on how much the content matter, in communications- that comprises, concision, clarity, and connection.

The farewell address of Barack Obama bore the hallmarks of a true leader—because it was not only about him but his country people; it was never “my” achievement but “our” achievement. Also, as always, he started his address by saying “Michelle and I…,” reinforcing her role as a partner rather than just as the FOTUS or a supportive presence in their journey. Mr Obama showed the world that it is not a prerequisite to leave everything in order to fulfil the demands of a position of power, authority and responsibility. He never for once portrayed Michelle, Malia and Sasha as second priorities, instead highlighting their role as integral to his entire life, including his tenure as President of the United States.

While most politicians would have thanked a spouse for their “sacrifices” and glorified having had to miss parenting milestones because they were too busy changing the world, he highlighted the importance of being a husband and father first. Mr Obama also didn’t shy away from describing his vice-president and his wife as a second “family”, drawing yet another standing ovation for himself.

He spoke the minds of millions of guys-next-door so as to say.

(We wake and sleep with speeches vibrating in our ears. However, we always yearn to listen to a leader who does not speak like a politician.)- Highlight this in Blurb

Congratulations Mr Obama!  Thanks for letting us witness the traits of a genuine leader in your eight years tenure.

1.      It’s not all about me, me, me

Obama: “I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”

2.      It’s not about extolling self-sacrifice

Obama: “Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.”

3.      It’s not about taking all the credit

Obama: “You have been a great Vice President… in the bargain, I gained a brother.”

4.      It’s not about projecting faultlessness and blaming others

Obama: “Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change.”

5.      It’s not about mocking and demeaning others

Obama: “We must uphold laws against discrimination… But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change.”

6.      It’s not about bravado and self-pride

Obama: “That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change—that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.”

7.      It’s not about creating an ‘other’ but standing together despite differences

Obama: “Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity—the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one… Democracy does not require uniformity, but it needs people to understand differences and work together to overcome adversity.

…Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.”

For a leader’s words to the nation does not and must not start and end with “I”.

Communicating in the Times of Communication

Sumana Khan January 25, 2020 0

At the backdrop of the pompous launch of Jio in India in 2016, a national daily stated that Jio is betting on the growing trend of people talking less and communicating more. It goes back to the basics which questions as to how talking less would make us communicate more. Is not talking or communicating through data in a virtual space constraining us to believe that communication only happens in digital media?

To our dismay, eventually, we have let this vast world of communication be synonym with just that of digital media. It not only testifies our ignorance towards the narrow yet distinct line of difference between the term communications & communication but also establishes our inclination towards space which is so mechanical that emotion has metamorphosed as emoticons. Can we “emoticonize” metaphysical….a thing to ponder and scratch our brain….

The giants including the incumbents are all busy making us digital and nocturnal at the same time. This connectivity unlimited has limited us to a magnitude inestimable. The magnitude is with respect to the designation of this era, i.e. “Information Age”. This barrage of information is now being consumed by us from the communication that is being steered through the communications technologies be it mobile phones, laptops and internet. However, contrary to the definition of communication, it does not let us respond; we may respond in terms of comments & reactions but not “response”. Like the nomenclature of this present era, we all are transforming to consume information but not knowledge. For I believe we consume information, whereas knowledge is something that consumes us. A brief yet powerful incident I experienced in my recent past reinstated my belief.

After alighting from an app-based taxi service which doesn’t let me talk to book it, I rushed into the lift of the apartment where I stay. There already was a couple with their child. They had to go to the 14th floor and I had pressed for 15th. So I had a good 40 seconds with them. The father was reciting some lines of a renowned poem of Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan, to his child. It was one my favourites too and I had gone through it a few days back only, somewhere on Facebook. The impact of that father echoing koshish karne walon ki kabhie haar nahi hoti to his 4-5 years old kid was beyond imagination. If I could be left so motivated, think about the child. I am sure like we all do, this child when grows up would say “my father used to say koshish karne walon ki haar nahi hoti. He is consumed in the knowledge that for him was passed through his father. However, there is another father, who happens to be a close family friend let his one and half years old daughter get immersed in a tablet which to my surprise, rather a shock, is immaculately being handled by her. She may not even know what is it to be listening to a 40 years old father singing a “twinkle twinkle little stars” or watching her mother playing “ring-a ring-a roses…” with her.  Though, she would know all of it in words (body) through those youtube videos, but never in its regard (soul).

Last year, I pestered my mother, who is a home-maker, to use what’s app. She, being a fast learner, easily learnt it, but the chats made us miss the earthen essence of hour-long phone calls. In fact, she also told me “I can chat but can’t talk to you, you either comment ‘hmmmm’ or react through smileys….. and I am too old to understand all of it.”

There are various such instances which essentially make us realise what it is to talk and what it is to just communicate. Well, this digital-connect besides consolidating our virtual life is also consolidating our disconnect with the real world. While a Humans of Bombay page brings forth the heart wrenching real stories of the common people through a virtual media, we, on the hand, are just allowed to feel pity and press a share button from our swanky spaces with a 4G data connection, for a deformed child undergoing a major surgery.

As I write this, I just received a message from my brother, “kotha bolbo” (I want to talk to you).….data is available cheap for communication but talking is a luxurious affair, I guess.

Authored by Sumana Khan


Hootsuite- A Game of Social Thrones.

Sumana Khan October 2, 2019 0

Content and Messaging is indeed the king!


Sumana Khan January 25, 2019 0

I say what I mean and I do what I say!

In this otherwise cluttered playground of Marketing and Communications, the above saying makes MAQLAIM stand out.

MAQLAIM follows the essentials of Ubuntu, the concept which outlines the philosophy behind “I am because you are.” As Ubuntu clinches the inevitable notion of existing in no isolation, on a similar line, we are not just one-of firm having one-of expertise. We understand that the vicious circle of marketing and communications needs to be comprehended and analyzed on a whole in order to create a virtuous circle of branding. Hence, we are an arduous follower of the four vital quadrants of marketing and communications which complete the circle in tandem with the entirety of the process.

A brand cannot and does not grow in seclusion. It grows amidst others as a brand- same, same, and different for the aligned products/services/ and solutions; and different but same, same, for non-aligned ones. Our philosophy needs a lens which showcases the requirement for a conscious shift in how brands perceive itself to how it should be perceived as amongst its publics.

As Nelson Mandela described in 2006:

“A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”

What Nelson Mandela says is, instead of push, be a pull. And this is what we just not prophesize, rather act towards, while working with an organization. Our goal is to make so much and so many positive eye-balls and ear-drums for our partner brand/organization that a system gets created on itself by the pull factor, be it for getting business, measuring ROIs, attracting investments, or having recurring constructive media stories.

To corroborate the above, let us ponder upon Desmond Tutu, the South African social rights activist and Archbishop, who unequivocally, yet explicitly implied that potential of human beings working collectively to achieve goals is infinitely greater than the potential of any individual. Inclining with the same is the case of the organizations or the brands. They have to have a vision which gets them through their past, present and future, to evaluate their evolution. Thus, MAQLAIM believes in the plurality of an organization’s existence and singularity of its progress.

Born with the mentioned concept, MAQLAIM terms itself as a boutique firm where the entire team pool their talent hard to find the right solution for its partner organization and become a long term trusted associate. We strive to play a pivotal role to be trusted by our partner organization/brands to deliver business-critical services via the vehicle of marketing and communications. We accelerate the organizational journey to enhance our partners’ market reach, scale-ability and business success.

Authored by Sumana Khan