Narendra Modi Remains Most Popular Indian Political Figure: Survey

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi remains “by far” the most popular figure in Indian politics, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The United States-based think-tank released the main findings on Nov. 15, after conducting a survey among 2,464 respondents in India.The survey, conducted between February 21 and March 10 this year, shows that Modi, with 88 per cent popularity, is ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by 30 points. He is ahead of Congress president Sonia Gandhi by 31 points and is 49 points ahead of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (39 per cent).The poll was conducted well before the disastrous impact of the GST and slowdown of the Indian economy had become political liabilities for Modi.The “positive assessment” of Modi by the public is because of the “growing contentment” with the Indian economy, the report said. Pew findings show that more than eight out of 10 people feel that economic conditions in India are “good,” a rise by 19 percentage points since immediately before the 2014 election.In the past three years, the number of adults who say that the economy is “very good” has tripled and stands at 30 per cent.Seven out of 10 Indians feel satisfied with the way things have been going in the country. Since 2014, the positive assessment of India’s direction has increased twofold.In southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, at least nine out of 10 Indians are satisfied with Modi. Even the people of the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat have a favorable opinion of him.Eight in 10 people surveyed in Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh as well as in the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal are satisfied with Modi.“Since 2015, Modi’s popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south, and is down slightly in the east,” said the report.The survey shows a drop of 21 percentage points in favorable view of America among Indians. It has gone down from 70 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent in 2017.“Only 40 per cent express confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs, down 34 points from their faith in his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015,” says the report.China’s favorable rating among Indians has also dropped, from 41 per cent in 2015 to 26 per cent in 2017. Pew conducted this survey before the two countries faced Doklam crisis this summer.On an average, despite sporadic outbreaks of communal violence, few Indians see communal relations as a very big problem in the country, the report added. “Similarly, despite Prime Minister Modi’s decision last November to abolish high-value bank notes, less than half of the Indian population sees the lack of availability of cash to be a major problem,” it said. Related ItemsDemonetizationIndian EconomyNarendra Modilast_img read more

India to Confirm Identity of Suspected Illegal Immigrants to UK Within 70 Days

first_imgIndia will agree to examine and confirm the identity of people who are suspected to be illegal migrants by the United Kingdom within a 70-day deadline, according to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will be signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits Britain in April. The details of the MoU were finalized by Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs, and Caroline Nokes, the UK Minister of Immigration, in London last week, the Hindustan Times reported.“Where a person declines to cooperate with the nationality verification process by refusing to provide a signature and where the requesting party confirms the person’s non-compliance and provides additional information to enable the requested party to verify nationality, the requested party shall on a case to case basis take steps to verify the person’s nationality,” the MoU details, reported HT.Indian citizens staying in the United Kingdom illegally have been divided into two groups in the MoU: people whose passports and other details can be obtained from their applications for British visas, and those who acknowledge being Indians, but do not have documents to prove it.For the confirmation of the identity of the second group, 70 days will be taken. While for the first group, the verification process, after UK submits documents to India, will be done within a 15-day period, the report added.Rijiju and Nokes on Jan.11 signed two MoUs to tackle international criminality as well as illegal migrants, the UK government said in a statement.“The agreement on returns paves the way for a quicker and more efficient process for documenting and returning Indian nationals who have no right to be in the UK to India. This has proven difficult in the past due to some Indians not having the required paperwork or travel documentation for them to be accepted back in their home country,” the statement said.It added that the agreement commits both countries to taking a more flexible approach to verifying the identity and nationality of individuals, which will help speed up the returns process.The latest move by the two countries follows reports that India and United Kingdom are set to sign MoU for return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of the identification of their residence status by authorities, although the process had not been streamlined then.In August 2017, several Indian citizens were arrested in an anti-immigration drive called Operation Magnify from January to June in the United Kingdom. A total of 200 people had been arrested, including officials from various agencies. Operation Magnify involved raids at 253 properties in Leicester and London, all housing individuals who were either overstaying their visa or had entered the country illegally. Related ItemsBritainUnited Kingdomlast_img read more

British Lawmaker of Indian Origin Supports Stand Up 4 Brexit Campaign

first_imgPriti Patel, the Conservative party lawmaker of Indian origin has extended her support to the “Stand Up 4 Brexit” campaign, which is against any negotiations with the European Union leading to a soft Brexit. About 20 lawmakers of the ruling Conservative party have rebelled and come together to oppose British Prime Minister Theresa May’s new Brexit plans.Patel, who resigned as the Secretary of State for International Development last November, has been a vocal supporter of referendum since June 2016, conducted for Britain’s exit from European Union.  She has also been calling for tougher stands in negotiating with Brussels, the de facto capital of European Union (EU), reported PTI.The lawmakers have challenged the Chequers Plan, which according to them will give more power to EU in trade negotiations and free movement of goods from and into Britain. Chequers Plan is named after Chequers or Chequers Court, a 16th century manor that is also the country house of the British Prime Minister, where British Cabinet had met in July to arrive at a compromise deal for Brexit.According to BBC, Chequers Plan is the Government’s Brexit white paper, which is “aimed at ensuring trade cooperation, with no hard border for Northern Ireland, and global trade deals for the UK.”As per a report in The Times, “Stand Up 4 Brexit” wants an end of free movement and is opposed to keeping Britain aligned with EU standards on goods. It is also raising other points in May’s Brexit strategy which indicate “compromises.”Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote a column in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ on Sept.3 attacking the Prime Minister’s plans and called Chequers Plan as a “disaster” for Britain. Johnson, who has also been the Mayor of London, had resigned over the Chequers compromise along with the former Brexit secretary David Davis.Johnson compared Britain’s exit negotiations between Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and the EU’s Michel Barnier to a rigged wrestling match, in which the victory of EU was inevitable, reported The Daily Mail. He said that the real ‘scandal’ was ‘not that we have failed, but that we have not even tried’ on Brexit.However, Prime Minister May wrote in her column a few days back that she was “confident” a “good deal” could be reached on Brexit, as per PTI report. It quoted her statement as, “Our white paper proposals are a good deal for Britain. They will allow frictionless trade in goods and agricultural products, protecting the jobs that depend on just in time supply chains.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Flights Of Fancy

first_imgWhen it comes to strategically stapled fashion, of late home grown Indian designers are creating a kind of buzz, which once only waltzing pillars of fashion in the west could create. Anjana Bhargav Collection. The entire world looks captivated by the new Indi-chic form of fanciful fashion. The Indian couture kings are creating a gentle simmer in the fashion pot shot, by exploiting the avante garde classicism of the past and infusing a contemporary twist to it; thus displaying a spectacular fashion panorama, which not only echoes the intrinsic charms of the land, but is also a pleasure to beholders.The hallmark of this recent resurgence is emphasized by the fact that a fashion stalwart like Jean Paul Gaultier showed a whole collection called “Indian Chiaroscuro,” hreflecting the designs of India. Fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Christian Lacroix and Emmanuel Ungaro are increasingly engaging the skills of artisans and designers in India to hand embroider their creations. Fashion designer Anand Jon uses a liberal sprinkling of Indian elements in his clothes, which find a definite favour with high profile celebrities like Alanis Morisette, Mary J. Blige and Ivana Trump.So, as the saree becomes ubiquitious and the dupatta gets versatile, is it really the time when we can safely say, that the Indian fashion fraternity has finally arrived?Well, in a way yes, says ace fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani, whose store in Mumbai caught the fancy of fashionistas like Naomi Campbell, Elizabeth Hurley and Goldie Hawn on their visits to India and who has also gained recognition for being the best couture designer 2004, by Moet and Chandon in Singapore. Tahiliani says that “Today India is much more confident with the global look it is projecting; there is a whole new realization of the classic designs and styles from India.” Rajvi Mohan Collection.Tahiliani participated in the Moscow Fashion Fiesta and Milan Fashion Week and has showings lined up at the fashion exposition in London. He says the response everywhere has been overwhelming and he is especially upbeat about the World Luxury Council which is hosting a reception in recognition of Tarun Tahiliani as the super luxury brand.The fashion savvy no longer need to jet set around the world for the best in designer classicism. The new upscale urbanite fashion that the designers are churning is a rage not only with Indians but with the global audiences as well. The primary reason for this shift, according to designer Puja Nayyar is the healthy exchange of styles that is happening globally. Nayyar says, “Overseas Indian elements are a sure fire favorite, but there is also an increasing sense of intelligence that is creeping in. It is no longer any sort of Indian embroidery that finds fascination, but it is the detailed craftsmanship that is appreciated abroad. To cater to international buyers textures, embroidery, tie and dye, bandhini and kantha have become very architectural, which is a good sign for fashion.”Foreign buyers find India a good place for exotic embroidery and outsourcing. Nayyar herself has done textures for Alexander McQueen, which she says is a matter of great pride and a hreflection of the fact that India has in store a powerhouse of surrealistic designs. She was also one of five Asian designers to be invited to Paris by Mercedes Benz. Anita Dongre Collection.Fashion stars Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, some of whose creations have been worn by Sophie Maceau in the Bond flick The World is Not Enough, stress that the Indian weaves, beautiful colors, stunning embroidery and a vast range of fabrics stand as the epitome of high fashion. Little wonder, then that the western sensibilities are ready to adopt Indi-inspired styles with relative ease. As designer Malini Ramani, points out, “Fashion has now started looking like a global parade, everyone is using elements from everywhere, but it is the color, embroideries and soul of India that stands as a key.” Raminiii has held shows in Hong Kong, Moscow, Dubai and London and her spunky designs attract clients from as far as Monte Carlo, Ibiza, New York and Bali.One of the most famous of Indian designers Rohit Bal too has designed clothes for celebrities like Uma Thurman, Pamela Anderson, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. At one of his shows Anna Kournikova walked the ramp in his stellar creation. While Ritu Beri’s tie-up with French fashion house Scherrer is all too famous, the high priestess of Indian fashion Ritu Kumar has presented her couture creations for charity in Times Square, New York. Rajvi Mohan Collection.However many fashion critics believe that it will still take some more ingenuity and patience for Indian designers to achieve the practiced chic. Men’s wear designer Rajvi Mohan who has studied the finer nuances of fashion at the London School of Fashion and at the Parsons School of Design, New York, says that in a few years, the Indian fashion scene can ride the crest of popularity. She recalls, that during her internship with Armani Exchange and Viviene Westwood she realised that people are becoming aware of Indian fashion.Mohan adds that “Designers like Gautier and Alexander McQueen have shown Indian inspirations in their collections, which highlights the impact of our country in the field of fashion.”In tow with the designers who have shared the international podium are Anita Dongre and Wendell Rodricks, the first Indian designers to present their collections at the world’s largest pret-a-porte fair IGEDO in Dusseldorf Germany. Dongre reminicises, “During the show one of the German models wore a pink colored chikankari gown from her creation on the ramp. The model so fell in love with the gown, that she immediately bought it to wear it on her wedding which was round the corner.”Dongre says, “It indeed was a biggest compliment for me, that a model from a different fashion sensibility took a liking for my hugely Indian design. This also goes on to show how styles are surpassing geographical boundaries.”Rodricks quips, “Thanks to Lakme India Fashion Week, the West is realizing that we have a serious fashion industry.”His designs have bedazzle people across the globe at various shows abroad, such as Dubai Fashion Week. In 2002 the mayor of the Parisian wealthy suburb of Boulogne, Billan Court invited him to present the gold gilt city hall, a rare honor. In India the fashion circuit often converges on Lakme India Fashion week (LIFW), which in the past few years has given a forum for designers to interact with buyers and media. Designer Narendra Kumar, who is among 20 designers selected worldwide to showcase their designs in France at the invitation of the French government, asserts that LIFW has been crucial in attracting foreign buyers, However it was only last year that the fashion week was positioned in the international calendar to accommodate the buying cycle.KKumar says, “Design industry in India, I would still say, is at a nascent stage. We are slowly getting recognized, but it is not only about being heard of, it is more about getting your marketing logistics correct and having a studied awareness of the international market before one thinks of competing abroad.”However, one thing that strikes a common chord and is voiced by almost all designers is that the hreflection of Indian influence such as the glorious zardozi, vibrant colors and intricate handwork are the buzz among western fashion connoissuers.Designer Anjana Bhargav says, “We are considered by the West as designers who focus on wedding and trousseau, because of our ornate style. Though there is nothing bad in it, but we still have to improve on our cuts for making a foothold in the foreign markets. We also have to keep under consideration various body structures, while women abroad have longer torsos, the Indian belles are blessed with a stouter torso, so obviously the structured tailoring has to vary.”Quizzed on her participation at the Miami fashion week, last year, Bhargav, who participated in the Miami Fashion Week last year in an Indian design showcase, says she witnessed a lot of applause. “People there were surprised that though our creativity was Indian, our touch was international.”Her show at the Toronto Fashion Week too drew rave reviews as did her work at the Hong Kong Trade Fair 2004 was fun,a lthough, she adds, that because prices in China are so low, “I am wary if it can reap much benefits.” She will be participating at the Selfridges show in London later this year.Young designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee won great accolades for his clothing line at the Milan Fashion Week 2004. And Suneet Varma, a designer who honed his skills during stints with couturiers Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and Nicole Farhi in London, recently drew strong reviews for his collection at the Alta Roma, Italian Couture Week in Rome. He believes that to compete in the global fashion market, it is important that we use the richness of Indian cultures and traditions and amalgamate it with Western ideologies. Varma has been involved in a revival of weaving and embroidery for international design houses like Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera and Nicole Miller.The past few years have seen sustained efforts among the designer community to put Indian fashion on a global platform. The glamour packed Lakme India Fashion Week serves to showcase exhibitors, both established and the new talented crop. The temperature soaring fiesta brings together the top models, the best designers and the latest fashion vouges to present a glamourama on the ramp.Indian designers are on an inspiring flight of fancy. With their huge dollops of imagination and versatile designs they are all set to take a headlong plunge into the whirlwind world of global fashion.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Standing Tall

first_imgAt a proud 24.7 inches in height, Jyoti Amge, a high school student in Nagpur has been admitted as the world’s shortest living woman in the Guinness World Records on her 18th birthday.Amge embraced her celebrity: “I have put Nagpur on the world map. Now everyone will know where it is.”And she has bigger plans. She aims to become a Bollywood actress. Move over Aishwarya Rai.According to Guinness, the shortest woman in history, 24-inch tall Pauline Musters, lived in the Netherlands from 1876 to 1895. Related Itemslast_img

A Forgotten Force of South Africa

first_imgJohannesburg-based author Suzanne Franco insists that it is the stories she pens that find her. Her current novel is the story of one such courageous woman that she chanced upon, inspiring her to write Soul Force.The book follows the life of a young woman, Valliamma Munuswamy Mudaliar, who dedicates her short life to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s satyagraha movement against racist oppression in South Africa. “I’m inspired when true-life stories of brave, courageous women find me, and I’m honored to bring their incredible stories to the world,” says Franco.The 50-year-old writer is on a quest to bring to light the journey and sacrifices made by brave women that have been buried deep in the pages of history. Her own journey as a historical fiction writer was not a bed of roses. “I was blissfully unaware of the prejudice that awaited me,” she recalls. “I was told — in no uncertain terms — that as a white female writer I had no credibility to write the life stories of woman of color.  Publishers shied away.”But she remained determined, and continued to focus on such stories. It was while she was on this quest to know more about such women that she discovered the unique story of Mudaliar.“I am completing a series of three historical fiction books of brave South African women who used their oppression to resist unjust, racial laws. They, through their actions and commitment, made an impact on South Africa’s turbulent history. So Mudaliar’s incredible story lay right in front of me,” says Franco.The cover of the novel Soul Force.Mudaliar, the protagonist of Soul Force, hailed from a tiny hamlet in the southern part of India. Her parents were indentured laborers in South Africa, and Mudliar was born in Johannesburg. “Dedicating her short life to Gandhi’s satyagraha resistance against racist laws, Mudaliar’s character is way too deep to limit in a few words,” emphasizes Franco.She discovered her protagonist’s tale and then began a massive hunt for more information on the woman, who had played a significant role in history and yet remained unknown. It took Franco around a decade-long research, as she dug deeper in history’s pages to look for more details about Mudaliar. She researched not only on Mudaliar, but also on Gandhi’s satyagraha movement and the positive effect it had on the scrapping of Anti-Asiatic laws in 1914.Her research also took her to Tolstoy Farm, where Gandhi lived and implemented his satyagraha ideals in Johannesburg. “I also personally took a tour of the prison where Mudaliar and Gandhi’s wife, Kasturba Gandhi, served their time,” Franco reveals. It was through these experiences that she could include authentic details in the book — whether it was the prison conditions or the hardships endured by Mudaliar and her fellow sisters in the satyagraha movement.Suzanne Franco took a tour of the prison where Valliamma Munuswamy Mudaliar was imprisoned in South Africa.Through the course of the research, Franco also met many Indian historians in South Africa, and was a part of many discussions and lectures on satyagraha and Gandhi. “I have attended the satyagraha remembrance at the Apartheid Museum. I also stayed a night at Gandhi’s Satyagraha House where he lived while he was a lawyer in Johannesburg,” she adds.Mudaliar’s story moved many, including Los Angeles-based French director Fabien Martorell. “Martorel and I were already in touch regarding my first novel, Exile Child, and once I had finished Soul Force he was floored with the sincerity and the inspiring story of Mudaliar’s life,” Franco says. The acclaimed director is now in final negotiations with Indian businessmen in South Africa to adapt the novel into a movie.“I believe people in today’s world will live in hope by recognizing women who have sacrificed so much to have an impact on history, and therefore, humanity,” Franco says. Her debut novel did not move very far away from what she believes in — recognizing women who have made an impact in the society.Exile Child, a historical fiction novel, is the story of Sarah Bartmann, who was torn from her South African tribe by Dutch settlers and sold as a slave. “It is a compassionate portrayal of one of South Africa’s most tragic heroines,” says Franco. “This story gives an insight into the hopes and dreams of Bartmann, who through past centuries has come to symbolize both the dispossession of Africans and the reinstatement of women’s dignity.”Franco’s next book will be  the final in a series of true stories about forgotten South African women who have made substantial impact on eradicating racism and oppressive laws in this country. “My third book follows the lives of three very different young women who were imprisoned in the British concentration camps at the turn of the century during the Anglo Boer war in South Africa,” she discloses.For now, Franco is determined to spread the word about Mudaliar’s exceptional tale of courage. “I plan to travel to India to make people aware about these courageous women,” she says. “The Indian community should give Mudaliar her due.” Related ItemsHistorySatyagrahaSouth Africalast_img read more

Facebook Is Breached by Hackers, Putting 50 Million Users’ Data at Risk

first_imgFacebook, already facing scrutiny over how it handles the private information of its users, said Friday that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.The breach, which was discovered this week, was the largest in the company’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.The news could not have come at a worse time for Facebook. It has been buffeted over the past year by scandal, from revelations that a British analytics firm got access to the private information of up to 87 million users to worries that disinformation on Facebook has affected elections and even led to deaths in several countries.Senior executives have testified several times this year in congressional hearings where some lawmakers suggested that the government will need to step in if the social network is unable to get tighter control of its service. On Friday, regulators and lawmakers quickly seized on the breach to renew calls for more oversight.“This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., one of Facebook’s most vocal critics in Congress, said in a statement. “A full investigation should be swiftly conducted and made public so that we can understand more about what happened.”In the conference call Friday, Guy Rosen, a vice president of product management at Facebook, declined to say whether the attack could have been coordinated by hackers supported by a nation-state.Three software flaws in Facebook’s systems allowed hackers to break into user accounts, including those of top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, according to two people familiar with the investigation but not allowed to discuss it publicly. Once in, the attackers could have gained access to apps like Spotify, Instagram and hundreds of others that give users a way to log into their systems through Facebook.The software bugs were particularly awkward for a company that takes pride in its engineering: The first two were introduced by an online tool meant to improve the privacy of users. The third was introduced in July 2017 by a tool meant to easily upload birthday videos.Facebook said it had fixed the vulnerabilities and notified law enforcement officials. Company officials do not know the identity or the origin of the attackers, nor have they fully assessed the scope of the attack or if particular users were targeted. The investigation is still in its beginning stages.“We’re taking it really seriously,” Zuckerberg, the chief executive, said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m glad we found this, but it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”Critics say the attack is the latest sign that Facebook has yet to come to terms with its problems.“Breaches don’t just violate our privacy. They create enormous risks for our economy and national security,” Rohit Chopra, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, said in a statement. “The cost of inaction is growing, and we need answers.”Facebook has been roundly criticized for being slow to acknowledge a vast disinformation campaign run by Russian operatives on its platform and other social media outlets before the 2016 presidential election.Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, testified in a Senate hearing that month about what the company was trying to do to prevent the same thing from happening in midterm elections in November.In April, Zuckerberg testified about revelations that Cambridge Analytica, the British analytics firm that worked with the Trump presidential campaign, siphoned personal information of millions of Facebook users.Outside the United States, the impact of disinformation appearing on Facebook and the popular messaging service it owns, WhatsApp, has been severe. In countries such as Myanmar and India, false rumors spread on social media are believed to have led to widespread killing.Facebook said the attackers had exploited two bugs in the site’s “View As” feature, which allows users to check on what information other people can see about them. The feature was built to give users move control over their privacy.The company said those flaws were compounded by a bug in Facebook’s video-uploading program for birthday celebrations, a software feature that was introduced in July 2017. The flaw allowed the attackers to steal access tokens — digital keys that allow access to an account.It is not clear when the attack happened, but it appears to have occurred after the video-uploading program was introduced, Facebook said. The company forced more than 90 million users to log out early Friday, a common safety measure taken when accounts have been compromised.The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems, Rosen said. The company could not determine the extent of the attackers’ access to third-party accounts, he said.Facebook has been reshuffling its security teams since Alex Stamos, its chief security officer, left in August for a teaching position at Stanford University. Instead of acting as a stand-alone group, security team members now work more closely with product teams across the company. The move, the company said, is an effort to embed security across every step of Facebook product development.Part of that effort has been to gird Facebook against attacks on its network in preparation for the midterm elections. Facebook has spent months setting up new systems to pre-empt such attacks, and has already dealt with a number of incidents believed to be connected to elections in Mexico, Brazil and other countries.Still, the recently discovered breach was a reminder that it is exceptionally difficult to entirely secure a system that has more than 2.2 billion users all over the world and that connects with thousands of third-party services.“This has really shown us that because today’s digital environment is so complex, a compromise on a single platform — especially one as popular and widely reaching as Facebook — can have consequences that are much more far-reaching than what we can tell in early days of the investigation,” said April Doss, chairwoman of cybersecurity at the law firm Saul Ewing.As the news of Facebook’s data breach spread quickly across Twitter, Google searches and other online sites, there was one place where it remained difficult to find some detailed reports: Facebook.Users who posted breaking stories about the breach from The Guardian, The Associated Press and other outlets were prompted with a notice that their posts had been taken down. So many people were posting the stories, they looked like suspicious activity to the systems that Facebook uses to block abuse of its network.“We removed this post because it looked like spam to us,” the notice said.c.2018 New York Times News Service Related ItemsFacebookSocial medialast_img read more

Expat Voice: Love In The Time of HIV

first_imgLife changed for Rocky Braat almost a decade ago, when he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage in Chennai. Braat, 36, who was on a visit to India from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, decided to leave his life, friends, and career in the United States to live with the young patients.That was in 2008. Five years later, Braat’s life inspired the documentary film, Blood Brother, that won several awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The film, made by Braat’s friend Steve Hoover, is a story about the power of love in the face of death.Braat tells Little India about his life in India over the last 10 years.When It All BeganOn a trip with the kids at the AIDS home, Nimmy and their daughter.I was working full-time as an art director and spent 8-10 hours a day in a cubicle and felt increasingly dissatisfied. I thought there was more I could do with my life and my time, which would be of a greater impact. That is when I took a flight to India.I originally wanted to visit the Sisters of Charity in Kolkata. But my friend suggested that I stop by in Chennai to see an AIDS home. After spending time with the kids at the Hope Foundation home in Chennai it didn’t seem to make sense to go to back to Kolkata.I never thought I would settle in India. But if I felt needed and useful to the people I was serving, I was happy to be living here.The Migration ProcessI received my citizenship two years back after a pretty lengthy process, involving a series of documents and trips to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office before I was granted my Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.Marrying a Tamil GirlPrior to getting married, I had lived in a village for nearly four years. At no point did I attempt to run away from the lifestyle here. I fully embraced itNimmy and I are very like-minded and we like what we do together so I really enjoy being married to an Indian. We have similar views on life, similar views on what’s important, like family and how to raise children. Although I was raised as an American I really appreciate and admire Indian women and their work ethic, and their views on family.Change in Lifestyle Rocky’s Wife, Nimmy and his daughter Jiya.I was never very super American by American standards. I was also raised open-minded, so adapting to the Indian culture wasn’t a huge challenge for me. It’s only things like rash driving that tick me off the most in India.When I first came I was pretty unimpressed by the cuisine and struggled with eating the same thing day after day. I started to loath rice. However, over time I’ve started to prefer rice and gravy, and find foreign food less satisfying. Blending In In the beginning people are excited for your arrival as a foreigner and want to make you feel welcomed. But as you become a part of the society people don’t really seem to notice. I blend in very well, speak their language and live the same way, so people treat me like any other local person.Working in IndiaI and my wife run an organization called the Light Partnerships. We run three small programs. The first initiative involves offering free ambulance service to villagers. We also provide a home and family for orphaned HIV positive teenagers, and teach English and computers to the students from the deprived communities.Path AheadAs time goes on I feel less needed here because now I feel there are plenty of resources for people to solve problems if they want to. When I first met the children in Chennai, the need was so intense and raw that I was motivated to give up everything and be a part of the solution. There are 20 million orphans in India, and lots of other opportunities to get engaged and re-engaged. It’s important for me to feel that my work matters to the people I am doing it for.The interview has been condensed and edited.Expat Voice is regular column on expats in India. Email us at to nominate yourself or another expat for the column. Related ItemsAmerican social worker ChennaiBlood BrotherExpat VoicesExpats in Indiaforeigner India NGOHope FoundationNimmy Rocky Light PartnershipsRocky BraatSteve Hoover Indialast_img read more

360i Wins Three Digiday Awards, Including Best Content Marketing Agency

first_imgWe are excited to announce that 360i and our client partners were three-time winners during last night’s 2015 Digiday Content Marketing Awards, a program honoring the best content creation that connects brands with audiences. Among the accolades, 360i was named “Best Content Marketing Agency” of the year.Client Oreo and 360i received top honors in the “Best New Product Launch” category for our “Feel The Feelings” campaign which introduced Oreo’s limited edition red velvet flavor in a “delightfully awkward” manner.In addition 360i and client HISTORY took home a  win in the “Best Use of Twitter” category for  “Vikings Hashtag Raids”— a ransacking of the Twitterverse with Vikings-style raids co-opting popular hashtags.Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists this year, and to the 360i team and our client partners.Cover photo via Digiday.last_img read more

How to Throw a Spooktacular Halloween Party on a Budget

first_imgThe average person may see anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads in a single day. From binge-watching your favorite shows to checking the pile of coupons in your mailbox, advertisers have inundated our lives. Most of the ads we see… Full Story,Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person. But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to… Full Story,You may not find it on an official calendar anywhere, but Friendsgiving is a newer holiday that has gained popularity in recent years. Much like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time to gather around the table with loved ones in the… Full Story,My birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Not much of a football fan? Don’t know what all the cheesehead hat-wearing and face paint-smearing is all about? Skip hanging out at the local sports bar or sitting in the stands at a game, and put on your entrepreneurial… Full Story,Living paycheck to paycheck can feel like an endless scramble. Rent is due on the first but your paycheck won’t clear until the second. On top of everything, you need to pay for groceries, a bus ticket, and utilities before… Full Story,Decision fatigue is the decline in energy and focus you experience after making too many decisions. This mental drain causes your brain to abandon your willpower in order to seek more immediate rewards, which leads to poor decision making and… Full Story,If you ask a random person on the street what they do, chances are they have a lot of slashes and hyphens in their job titles. In this day and age, if you don’t have multiple sources of income… Full Story,Do you consider yourself a financially responsible young adult? Personally, I like to think that my finances are mostly in order. Rent, student loans, car payments—everything big is blocked off nicely. If the math works out right, I have a… Full Story,In the financial world, nothing evokes feelings of terror quite like the word “bankruptcy”. It’s become synonymous with a complete and utter collapse of one’s finances – a black hole that’s almost impossible to climb out of. When you declare… Full Storylast_img read more

Win $200 with Mint Bills!

first_img*Alexa, play Cheap Thrills by Sia* Now that Sia has got you inspired, we know it can be hard to unwind and enjoy yourself when it often involves dropping a lot of cash. In fact, 64% of Americans say money… Full Story,Official rules here. The sweepstakes ended as of Sunday, July 21st but the opportunity to join the conversation and share #MyMintBalance lives on! You may have noticed a significant surge in conversation on your social media about the current state… Full Story,We know you love Mint, and Mint loves you right back. That’s why we’ve brought a refreshed look and feel that features a sleek design, added benefits, and a simplified view of what’s important with your money. This month, Mint… Full Story,An overdraft fee can be a headache and often one of the most expensive fees from a bank. Minters, there’s a good chance that at some point in the last year, you have seen the dreaded “NSF Fee” transaction on… Full Story,Sharing openly about your finances is difficult to do. Be it with your family, friends, in your relationship or even unintentional exposure at work (ever been on a work trip where they plan to reimburse you, but you don’t even… Full Story,We know you love Mint, and Mint loves you right back. That’s why we’re updating the iOS app with a refreshed look and feel that features a sleek design, added benefits, and a simplified view of what’s important with your… Full Story,Hi Minters! Kyle here from Mint’s product team. I wanted to share with you one of our newest feature updates that we hope you have already discovered. One of the biggest impacts to your credit score is your credit utilization… Full Story,TLDR: Mint bill pay feature will no longer be available as of June 30th At Mint, our goal is to make money management effortless. From budgeting, to tracking your transactions to regular credit score updates, we aim to help you… Full Story,Hey Mint readers – my name is Peter Fong, I’m an iOS engineer here at Mint and worked on a recent feature update for Budgets. Hopefully you’ve already discovered it – but if not – they asked me to share… Full Story,This Wednesday June 14, Mint is teaming up with Girlboss in New York City to have an impolite conversation about money. Girlboss founder and CEO, Sophia Amoruso and finance expert Farnoosh Torabi will gather a panel of emerging female entrepreneurs… Full Storylast_img read more

Alternative Ways to Pay for College

first_imgImagine a day when a college degree takes just one year to complete. Tuition is free and, upon graduation, companies like Spotify and Lyft want to hire you.Adam Braun, founder of MissionU, wants that day to be now.Earlier this summer I spoke with Braun to learn more about his latest venture MissionU, a program that’s trying to change the way we approach and afford higher education.(You may recognize Braun as also the founder of Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools, trains teachers and fund scholarships around the world.)While college students typically attend school for four or more years and borrow money to afford tuition, MissionU is a one-year program that has an income-share agreement with students.Students get charged tuition only once they become gainfully employed upon graduation.The program’s current (and only) major is data analytics and business intelligence, which Braun says is the top skill set many competing companies are increasingly seeking in new hires.The average 2016 graduate is carrying about $37,000 in student loan debt, up six percent from the previous year. It’s not uncommon for some to owe double or triple that amount, which makes for a challenging financial life once stepping into the “real world.”As the founder, Braun was personally compelled to launch MissionU after witnessing his wife struggle to repay over $100,000 in college debt.“We have two major issues with the very broken higher education system in this country,” he told me on my podcast. “The first is that young people are leaving school unprepared for the job market and without the necessary skills or experiences, to bring value to an employer. And then the second is that whether they get the degree or not, they’re leaving school with insurmountable crippling levels of debt.”The total cost of MissionU is capped at $45,000 and grads are charged 15% of their salary for three years once they earn $50,000 or more. If a student isn’t making at least $50,000 in any given month, a deferral period kicks in and can be be applied for up to 48 months.The program is in its infancy and has yet to establish a track record, but it begs the question: What are some other ways – besides scholarships and grants — to avoid the painfully high cost of attending college?Well, crowdfunding, for one.What began as a means for primarily funding artists’ projects, is now vastly popular way to pay for a number of initiatives, including earning a degree.GoFundMe, for example, has a college tuition fundraising section that provides tips and resources. According to Forbes, GoFundMe “has raised $60 million from over 850,000 donations for college tuition and related expenses.” Fees do apply for those who raise money through the site.Over at, the website leverages your social network to reach donors for your cause and boasts helping its fundraisers free of charge.  Search for ‘college’ and you can find a number of accounts seeking help for school.But why pay for college at all?Some schools enroll students free of charge.According to, there are 10 schools offering free tuition this year including Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Webb Institute, Barclay College, Curtis Institute of Music, Alice Lloyd College, Cooper Union, Berea College and College of the Ozarks.Many of theses schools have small campuses, so if you’re seeking a large community, these institutions may not be the right fit. Acceptance rates are also very low. About one in eight or 13% of applicants got accepted to Cooper Union last year. And keep in mind that at some “free” schools you may still be required to pay for housing, books and some fees out of pocket. Post navigation Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at (please note “Mint Blog” in the subject line).Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

This Interactive Chart Explains World’s Top 10 Emitters, and How They’ve Changed

first_imgEDITOR’S NOTE 11/21/2017: The new Climate Watch platform is now available, allowing you to explore historical and projected emissions, countries’ climate targets and their linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals.A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. So far, more than 170 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris Agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. Several major economies, including Canada, Germany and Mexico, have also developed long-term plans to decarbonize their economies.As countries implement their targets and policies and develop more detailed pathways to reduce their emissions, it’s important to fully understand our global emissions picture and how it has changed over time. WRI recently updated its CAIT Climate Data Explorer on the world’s top greenhouse gas-emitting countries with the latest global data available (2013). Here’s an interactive chart to explore it by country and by economic sector, showing how the top emitters have changed in recent years. 1) The World’s Top 3 Emitters Contribute 14 Times the Emissions of the Bottom 100The top three greenhouse gas emitters— China, the European Union and the United States—contribute more than half of total global emissions, while the bottom 100 countries only account for 3.5 percent.1 Collectively, the top 10 emitters account for nearly three-quarters of global emissions. The world can’t successfully tackle the climate change challenge without significant action from these countries.2) The Energy Sector Is the Major Culprit, but Action in Every Sector CountsOver the past 10 years, the energy sector has remained the largest contributor to emissions over any other sector, representing 72 percent of global emissions in 2013. China saw the largest increase in single-sector emissions from 2012 to 2013 from its energy production, which increased by 365 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), or 4 percent. The majority of these emissions came from an increase in electricity production, heating and transportation. However, this does represent a lower rate of increase than the historical average —China’s average annual growth rate for coal consumption from 2000 to 2013 was 8.8 percent.On the other hand, Australia, the world’s 15th -largest emitter, saw the largest emissions decrease in a single sector, with its agricultural emissions dropping by 65 MtCO2e, or a reduction of 34.6 percent since 2012. The majority of those reductions came from a decrease in the area of burning savannah2, which reduced methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.  3) Some Major Emitters are Reversing their TrendsFrom 2012 to 2013, the top 10 emitters cumulatively increased their emissions by 2.2 percent, compared to the average annual growth of 2.4 percent over the last 10 years. Within that same period, the top two global emitters, China and the United States, saw the largest single year percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions, with a rise of 4.3 and 1.4 percent respectively.Even with that growth of emissions from 2012-2013 by top emitters, if we expand the timescale, their combined emissions have remained the same for the past decade.3 In that time, the United States peaked its emissions in 2007, and the European Union, the third-largest emitter, saw steady reductions. Others have stabilized their emissions over the last 10 years, including Russia and Canada.More recent data looking only at energy-related carbon dioxide emissions shows that this type of emission stayed flat globally between 2014 and 2016, even as the global economy grew during the same period. Since carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, this is an encouraging trend. We await further data to see whether other types of greenhouse gases are growing or shrinking, and whether this trend will continue.As 21 countries are already proving, decoupling carbon dioxide emissions from economic growth is happening. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to bend the emissions curve significantly downward.Explore CAIT DataLearn more about global emissions by visiting WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer. You can sift through data covering 186 countries, multiple economic sectors, several types of emissions and a 162-year timespan. We also provide tools to explore other dimensions of climate policy, including countries’ Paris Agreement mitigation contributions, projections of emissions from major emitters through 2100, and various dimensions of climate equity.1 Please note that this circle chart visualization excludes emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and bunker fuels sectors. For the complete inventory with sectoral breakdown, please refer to CAIT Climate Data Explorer.2 The emissions data are sourced from FAOSTAT – “Burning Savannah”. Available at: According to its documentation [], the yearly burned area is “produced from monthly statistics of the Global Fire Emission Database v.4, based on MODIS remote-sensing data.” It is hard to conclude solely from the data whether this reduction is caused by natural disturbance, or policy/action implemented. However, it is important to note Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative Savannah burning methodology [] which could potentially have contributed to this reduction []3 Ranking and the trend analysis are based on CAIT Country GHG Emissions data of total GHG emissions excluding Land-use Change and Forestry (LUCF) from 2003-2013.last_img read more

Wanna Be a Rap Superstar? “Just HubSpot It” [Episode 2]

first_img You can’t leave now because your mom drives you home That’s right. I went there. Is the little intern crying? Producer and Director: When watchin’ you might think we’re from the movie Want more videos? 8 Mile Starring: Tune in every Tuesday on our blog, or Episode #2: Rap Battle @ , @ subscribe to our YouTube page. @ So what are your thoughts? Did you watch it three times? Extra credit if you leave a comment that rhymes. . Check out our HubSpot stars. They have rhythm and style!   jwmarcus Bad news, tie boy, I’m not even trying. I manage email, the network, the wifi, the irony! This little b**** can’t even spell S-E-O! I’m Danny the intern with a flow so cool WoodyTondorf Here to serve this intern like he’s soft ice cream So your clip-on tie makes you think you got clout? Video: How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day It’s Maureen, the dream, IT’s freestyle queen I’m about to crush this b**** like he’s spam in my filter! You checkin’ out this blog lookin’ for a good read? How ’bout a video to blow your mind and Twitter feed? You know Maureen doesn’t even get a parking spot? Yo don’t waste my time while you thinkin’ you hot by Woody Tondorf jalicedev Freestyle Rap Lyrics Just sit your a** down before I knock you straight out. Learn strategies to monitor your company’s brand and engagement in social media in just 10 minutes per day! repcor I even see your failures all over eHarmony! , @ View the video now Maureen’s an office drone, just a glorified tool! rickburnes , @ to set up a solid routine to monitor your online presence! Look at little Danny with his tie off kilter Originally published May 25, 2010 2:00:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

5 Steps to Using Twitter for Ecommerce Marketing

first_imgThere is little evidence that, in 2006, the founders of Twitter fully understood what an incredible resource their site would become for businesses. The irony is, Twitter is a marketer’s dream . Overhead is nearly non-existent. The medium is literally in the palm of their hands. All they need to do is come up with an effective approach and time it correctly.Here’s how ecommerce marketers, and you, can do just that: 1. Raise Interest Before Promoting Sales Whether you are new to Twitter or trying to build your presence, you need to start by giving potential followers something to which they can relate. Retweeting interesting tweets is a good start, and perusing trending hashtags can also allow you to jump in and appeal to potential followers by indirectly interacting with them.  2. Before Launching the Effort, Know Your Baseline First, check your number of followers. But don’t stop there. Take a peek at your website’s traffic report and see how many of those visitors are coming from Twitter and which tweets drew them to your site. Quality traffic-monitoring software can tell you bounce rates and conversion rates for Twitter-generated traffic so you can pin down your baseline numbers according to quality and quantity.Continue to track these numbers throughout the engagement effort to see what works and how you can improve. 3. Understand Your Network Since you can’t physically see customers as they ‘walk’ into your online store, you have to do your best to understand them in other ways. Do not assume your network is all young people who have smartphones just because that is the stereotypical Twitter user. Instead, visit as many pages as you have time to visit and note what they tweet, where they shop, and what people say to them.This can give you a fairly accurate picture of what will appeal to your followers, and it will also trigger some creative ideas you may not have considered by showing you what has worked for other companies. 4. Reach Users Outside Your Network Understanding hashtags is the easiest way to reach more users. Do a little research to see which hashtags are both popular and related to your products. Then begin adding those hashtags to your tweets so a new audience has access to you.Promoting other users’ material (e.g. retweeting interesting tweets or linking to other accounts) can be extremely beneficial. Other Twitter users will usually return the favor and share your posts, too when they find them interesting.  5. Intrigue Your Followers; Don’t Give Them Everything The long term goal is to convert these Twitter followers to devoted customers at your online store. In order to do this, you have to actually get them from Twitter to your store by enticing them. Make a conscious effort to write teasers as tweets that make your network think, “I really have to see what this is about.”In other words, don’t always just come out and say, “20% off Red Sox jerseys today!” Rather, try something like, “Click the link and tell me which athlete’s last name belongs on this jersey. Prizes for correct answers!” Then track the number of answers and the number of users who stay on the site and purchase the jersey.If you follow these steps and constantly return to your metrics to check progress, you will grow your Twitter reach drastically. Then you can expand these same tactics to other sites, using Twitter to promote your other social networks just as you would market a product. As I said in the opening paragraph, Twitter is a marketer’s dream. But only if you use it correctly. Are you using Twitter and other social networks to effectively market your ecommerce website? Originally published Oct 3, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter Marketinglast_img read more

13 Types of Product Marketing Content for Sales Enablement

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Nov 7, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 As inbound marketers, we create a lo-hot of content. It fuels our whole marketing strategy, after all! But when you think about all the different types of content a marketer creates, that which helps to attract website traffic and convert visitors into leads tends to get the most attention. But there’s a lot more to it, my friend.While this educational, top-of-the-funnel content is vitally important, let’s not undermine the importance of bottom-of-the-funnel marketing content — content that communicates the functionality and benefits of your product/services — and content that enables your sales team and helps them sell.Try HubSpot’s free CRM software here for even more sales enablement tools.We bucket these two types of content together because they usually fall under the responsibility of a company’s product marketer(s) to create. And admittedly, we don’t tout the value of product marketing enough on this blog. That changes today.Product marketers typically create that more bottom-of-the-funnel content that caters to prospects who are closer to the purchase stage in the buying cycle. These prospects are actively considering your solutions and are thus looking for product-focused information to help them make their decision. As such, product marketing content can be critical in helping convert those truly qualified leads into paying customers.Furthermore, because product marketers — particularly those operating in a B2B setting — also bridge the gap between product developers and salespeople, they also focus a lot of their efforts on sales enablement, creating content to A) educate their sales team about how to position and sell their products and services, and B) provide salespeople with the collateral they need to make selling easier.So if you’re ready to be a better sales and marketing enabler, we’ve compiled a list of the various types of content you can create to A) cater to those bottom-of-the-funnel prospects, and B) help your sales team be more effective sellers. We’ve divided our list into these two categories, but keep in mind that some of the product marketing content we list can also be used to enable your sales team — and vice versa.Product Marketing Content You Can Use for Sales Enablement1) Product VideosVideo can be a great way to communicate how your products work and how they help your potential customers, particularly for products that lend themselves to a more visual explanation. They’re also great for giving site visitors a quick overview of what you offer (like the first HubSpot software overview video below) as well as providing deeper dives into specific product features and use cases (like in the second video below about HubSpot’s Contacts tool). Content Typescenter_img Topics: 2) Product PagesSo once you produce those handy dandy product videos, where should they live? One asset that product marketers typically manage is a website’s product pages. These pages should highlight your various product and service offerings and provide the information that prospects are looking for to conduct product research and understand what you sell. Depending on what that is, these pages may be organized in a number of ways.On HubSpot’s product pages, for example, we provide both a general overview of what HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software includes, in addition to a deeper dive into the features of the individual tools within.In your product pages, aim to A) feature your various individual product/service offerings, B) describe how they fulfill a need or solve a problem your audience has, C) and highlight any points of differentiation. And hey — those handy product videos can definitely help you achieve these goals, too.3) Product Blog ContentRight now you’re probably all like, “But I thought we inbound marketers were supposed to use our blog for thought leadership and attracting visitors through educational, industry content?” Of course you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have a separate blog dedicated to product updates. You could also use this blog to announce company news, making it a combined company product and news blog. Use this blog to communicate significant product, service, and feature updates — as well as noteworthy company news — and house it within the product section of your website.It’s also okay to incorporate subtle product mentions into your main blog from time to time. In fact, you’ll notice that we do it on this very blog. Check out how we did it in the example below, which is an excerpt from our blog post, “How to Write Stellar How-To Posts for Your Business Blog.” Just do so in moderation, avoid over-the-top product promotions, and be sure that the main focus of your educational blog is always … well, education.4) Customer Success Stories/Case StudiesCase studies that highlight the success of your current customers are an extremely powerful product marketing tool. In fact, they’re one of the items on our list that could be classified as both product marketing and sales enablement content. They add a lot of credibility to your product marketing and prove the true value of your products/services. In your case study content, be sure to demonstrate the customer’s challenge, highlight how your solution addressed that challenge, and feature the outcome/results (quantitative and/or qualitative). To learn more about how to create effective case studies, check out our comprehensive blog post, “The Ultimate Guide to Creating Compelling Case Studies.”5) ROI ReportsAnother great way to prove the value of your solutions is to compile regularly updated ROI reports based on the success of your customer base. If this type of content is applicable to your business and the products/services you sell, you can compile these annual reports by either analyzing any customer data you have access to, or by surveying your customers about the results they’ve generated.6) Group Product DemosIn addition to any educational, top-of-the-funnel webinars you might host, group product demos are another great type of webinar you can try — and they make really great product marketing collateral, too. Particularly suitable if you’re in the software business, live group demos can save your sales team the time of administering individual, one-on-one demos and can be promoted both to marketing leads as well as the leads your sales team is already actively working. Bonus: If you record your live demos, these can also be repurposed and used as product demo videos featured on your website.7) Product Awareness SurveysSmart inbound marketers attract new website visitors with industry-related, top-of-the-funnel content. But because this content tends to be more educational in nature rather than product-focused, product awareness can be a challenge for some businesses. Administering product awareness surveys to your leads can be a great way to get a pulse on what your audience thinks you sell. It can also help your product marketing team measure how effectively their efforts are achieving product awareness goals over time. Emailing the survey to a segment of your leads or adding the survey to some of the thank-you pages for your marketing offers can be a great way to collect responses. And for more information about conducting successful online surveys, download our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Using Surveys in Your Marketing.Sales Enablement Content8) Sales Training Sessions/PresentationsIn order to maintain an effective sales team, your salespeople must constantly be on top of the best ways to position and sell your various products, services, and individual features — particularly if your product developers are coming out with new additions on a regular basis. Create presentations and dedicated training sessions that educate your salespeople about how these new features work, their individual use cases, and the best ways to position these features to various buyer personas and specific segments of your audience.9) Sales Knowledge QuizzesSo how do you know what subject matter your sales team needs to be trained on, anyway? One great way to gauge their knowledge level of your various products, services, and/or features is to administer quizzes. Doing so enables your product marketing team to identify the areas in which your sales team could use some additional help, training, and product knowledge. This allows product marketing to focus their content creation and sales enablement efforts in the right places.10) Overview SheetsAn overview sheet is a document your sales team can distribute to the leads they’re selling to. While it doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail, it may provide additional information to what is publicly available on your website and product pages. These sheets can (and should!) also be tailored to individual personas, enabling you to address those buyers’ unique problems, needs, and challenges — and how that product provides a solution. Because overview sheets are distributed to prospective customers, keep in mind that they should stick to your company’s branding, design, and style guidelines.11) Competitor Comparison Matrices”So how is your product any different than Competitor XYZ’s?” If this is a common question your sales team gets asked by prospects, it might be helpful to create some kind of competitor comparison matrix that helps your sales team understand and communicate your differentiation from competing products. Is it pricing? Is it feature availability? Maybe it’s your extremely helpful customer service packages. Whatever it is, create and provide these matrices to your sales team for when they encounter prospects who are having trouble grasping why you’re so much more awesome than Company XYZ.This being said, be sure your marketing and sales teams aren’t obsessing about competitors. Instead, they should be putting most of their focus on customers. Competitive information should only be used to educate your staff so they’re prepared to answer questions that arise about how you and your competitors compare. It should not be used as fodder to send to leads or bad-mouth other companies.12) “How to Sell” PagesA “how to sell” page is a resource used to provide your sales team with all the information they need to effectively sell a particular product, service, or feature. You can consider each of these pages as the home base for your sales team to learn about what they’re selling, and you should publish these in a central location where your sales team can easily access them when needed, such as an internal wiki or some other internal file sharing service.Your “how to sell” pages should include the problems/challenges/needs the product addresses, questions salespeople can ask to determine if a prospect is a good fit, how the product works, the features it includes, the buyer personas it appeals to, use cases, screenshots/images, competitive positioning tips, etc. It should also include links to other helpful resources such as that particular product’s public-facing product page on your website, training decks, overview videos — and any of the other content we’ve mentioned in this blog post pertaining to that individual product.13) Product Digest EmailsProduct marketers also have the unique challenge of doing internal marketing. As we said before, product marketers are usually the liaisons between the product development team and the rest of the company. One particularly great way for them to share news and information about new product features and sales enablement content and resources is to send regular product digest emails. These emails should provide important new information salespeople and marketers should know about products as well as link to additional resources, like the “how to sell” pages we just talked about. And you don’t have to reserve these sends just for your company’s salespeople and marketers. There’s a good chance everyone in your company would also benefit from learning about what’s new in product marketing land, too!What other types of product marketing can you create to boost your bottom-of-the-funnel marketing and help your sales team sell?last_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #11: Form Your Blogging Habit

first_img Blogging Advice Originally published Jan 12, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack From January 2-31, we are challenging everyone to blog more to see firsthand the results that blogging can generate. Participating companies should submit their blog URLs on this page to enter the challenge. Winner(s) will receive a complimentary ticket to INBOUND 2014 and be featured on the HubSpot Inbound Marketing blog.Today’s blogging tip is brought to you by Carrie Milford, Marketing Coordinator at Incitrio:”Blogging is like any other habit: It has to be formed. You have to set a specific number of posts per week or month and then stick to that, no matter what. Eventually, it will become a part of your routine and you’ll feel ‘off’ if you miss a deadline. Even if you feel like you don’t have anything to say, sit down and start writing. Draw inspiration from other blogs or publications that you like. Once you start writing, you’ll most likely stumble into something you feel good about putting out there. If you don’t, well … we’ve all been there. Push through!”Did you blog today? If yes, submit to the challenge!last_img read more

How to Use Welcome Emails to Delight Your New Blog Subscribers

first_img Originally published Jan 31, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 You know how the associates in retail stores usually give you a friendly, “Hi! Let me know if I can help you with anything today” when you walk through the door? Sure, they say it to everyone who enters the store, but there’s just something about a friendly greeting that makes you feel appreciated.Now, if you’re like me, though, you hope that the retail associate doesn’t continue bugging you incessantly while you’re shopping (badgering people isn’t quite the best method to get them to buy, if you ask me). The same scenario can also happen with your blog subscribers. Chances are, you’ve worked hard to get them to subscribe — you’ve written valuable content that makes them want to come back for more, you’re blogging regularly, and you’ve encouraged them to subscribe. Now that they’ve walked through your door, don’t they deserve a little greeting themselves?This is where welcome emails come into play. Here’s why they’re so great and how to set up one of your own to show appreciation for new blog subscribers.The Benefits of Welcome Emails A type of transactional email, welcome emails are beneficial for a number of reasons.First off, they’re lovable — they show your new subscribers you appreciate having them as part of your subscriber community. After all, these people just opted in to get even more email delivered to their already cluttered inboxes. Definitely worth a little thank you from my perspective.Welcome emails are also great for reminding subscribers exactly what they signed up for. This is particularly important when users opt in to your blog through more indirect methods, like check boxes on landing pages.The fact of the matter is people sign up for things and then forget they ever did. Reminders are always helpful, especially when they prevent people from thinking the blog subscriber emails they’re suddenly getting are spam — and marking them as such.Furthermore, they set expectations with your subscribers by clarifying the types of content they’ll start getting emailed about and how frequently they’ll get those emails.Welcome emails also give you, the marketer, a chance to promote other things like offers, upcoming events, etc. And best of all? They can be set up and triggered automatically, requiring little maintenance on your part.How to Configure a Welcome Email Like I said, one of the beautiful things about welcome emails is the ability to automate them. How you configure yours will largely depend on the software you’re using, but in general, you’ll set up a workflow triggered by either the contact’s addition to a subscriber list or the contact’s completion of a subscriber form.That workflow will then initiate your welcome email to new subscribers based on the timing you specify (we recommend triggering the email to send immediately after the contact subscribes). In HubSpot’s software, for example, all of this is easy to set up due to the integration among our Blogging, Email, Marketing Automation, and Contacts tools:Anatomy of a Welcome Email Okay, so what about the welcome email itself? What should it include? General email best practices aside, let’s review some of the specific welcome email must-haves, using Inbound Hub’s own welcome email as an example.1) Recognizable Subject Line, Sender Name, and Branding Because this is the first email your subscribers will be receiving once they’ve opted in, the most important thing to consider when choosing the subject line, sender name, and branding of your welcome email is recognizability.As a result, make sure you’re using your company or blog’s name and other branding elements like logos and screenshots to identify that the welcome email is coming from your blog. It’s also smart to recognize the action the recipient took in the subject line so it’s immediately apparent why they’re receiving the email in the first place.For example, the following is the subject line for Inbound Hub’s welcome email: Thanks for Subscribing to Inbound Hub! Your Next Steps …”Thanks for subscribing” reminds the recipient that they just subscribed, and “your next steps” offers a sense of urgency to click through to the email. As always, feel free to test variations of your subject lines and sender names to determine what works best to generate clickthroughs.2) Personalization Aren’t greetings so much more personal when they’re … well … personalized? If you’re lucky enough to have your email software connected to your contacts database (that’s you, HubSpot users!) and you’ve collected any information about your contacts aside from just their email addresses (like, say, their names), personalizing your welcome emails is easy as pie.Plop in a dynamic tag, and you can turn that generic “Hi there” greeting into something much more personal like, “Hi Rebecca.” Much more welcoming if your name is Rebecca, right?3) Thank You MessageAfter you greet your new subscribers, show them you care! Like I said, these people have deemed your content worthy enough to receive emails about it — and that’s quite the compliment. Show them you appreciate having them as a new subscriber with a simple thank you. It’ll go a long way.4) What Subscribers Can ExpectRemember — even if you trigger your welcome email to get delivered right after contacts subscribe, some people need a little clarification about exactly what they signed up for, especially if they signed up without knowing any of the details. So tell them! What type of content should they expect to receive? How frequently will they get emailed about it — every time you publish a new post? On a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly?As you can see in our example welcome email, because Inbound Hub is comprised of several different sections, we indicate which of those sections the recipient is subscribed to and at what frequency. This way, subscribers know exactly what they’ve signed up for — and what to expect.To do this in your own welcome email, use dynamic tags to indicate the subscriber’s email subscription preferences. (HubSpot users can do this by using the dynamic tag for their blog’s subscriber email frequencies — instant, daily, weekly, or monthly.)5) Link to Email Preference Center What if the subscriber is unhappy with the frequency at which you’ll be emailing them? Or what if they (unfortunately) decide they don’t really want email about your blog content after all? Give them the opportunity to modify their preferences by linking to an email preference center landing page where they can change their frequency preferences or opt out of your blog(s) completely.I also recommend linking to this page in the individual blog subscriber emails you send.6) Relevant Call-to-ActionWhile your welcome emails should mainly be about welcoming new subscribers and providing information related to their new subscription, we’re marketers, right? It’s hard not to use the opportunity to inspire some kind of action or next step, so feel free to include a call-to-action for a relevant offer or action you want subscribers to take next.Maybe it’s a CTA to download your latest free educational ebook, register for an upcoming event, or simply check out some of your most popular blog posts. In our welcome email, we’ve chosen to promote the revamped homepage of Inbound Hub, since it’s fairly new, and it’s something we’re trying to drive more traffic to.The choice is yours — just make sure it’s subtle and relevant.7) Personal Sign-Off It may seem obvious, but a welcome email should come from an actual person. Our welcome email, for example, currently comes from yours truly because I manage our blog’s email subscriptions.You can extend this logic to your sender name as well to make things even more personal — our welcome email comes from “Pamela, HubSpot Blog,” for instance.  8) Social Media Follow Buttons If your subscribers were interested enough in your blog to subscribe to your emails, it’s safe to assume that many of them might welcome other ways to connect with you. Therefore, use your welcome email to help increase your social reach by including social media follow buttons for your social media accounts. Do you have a welcome email set up for your subscribers? What other tips can you share? Email Newsletters Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Boogie Shoes & Musical Fruit: The Strangest Employee Rewards Ever Given

first_imgThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.There are a lot of classics in the world of employee rewards. Money. Time off. Restaurant gift certificates. Trips. All oldies, but goodies.However, sometimes business leaders get a bit more creative … and occasionally, downright strange. The book 1501 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson is chock full of examples of companies gifting cash, vacations, medals, and food. But every few pages, there’s also a more bizarre anecdote. After sifting through the book to find some of the strangest rewards, I compiled my top 10 favorites here.These examples might inspire you to think outside the box when deciding on your next sales contest incentive or employee reward plan. On the other hand, they might reaffirm the choice to stay comfortably in the box. It all depends on how flexible your definition of “reward” is.1) The Musical FruitFor going above and beyond your daily duties at Lands’ End, you could win the “Big Bean Award.” Each month, one nominee (selected from a ballot box) gets to try their hand at the “Big Bean Machine,” aka “Plinko,” to determine which bean-themed prize they’ll walk away with. Some are pretty neat — beanbag chairs; beanie hats. Others, such as actual beans … are less so.2) Regular FruitOutdoor retail company REI is all about maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Avoiding scurvy is part of health — so it makes a bit more sense that the location in Ventura, CA rewarded two employees who went the extra mile with whole pineapples. (I hope their next prize was a corer.) 3) Lawn DecorEach recipient of the “Standing Tall” award at Synovus gets an extra day of vacation, $100, and … a pink flamingo lawn ornament wearing a bowtie. Thanks, I think?4) Fido’s DelightFlight attendants probably feel like they’ve seen it all until a CUNA Mutual Group “Big Bone Award” winner boards their flight. The leader who takes home the Big Bone one of three times per year literally takes home a big bone: a four foot long rawhide dog bone, to be exact. “If you won, you got to sign the bone, bring it home as an airplane carry-on, and display it in your work area,” said Eileen Doyle Julien, a division manager.What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when the inevitable argument goes down about whether there’s room for a giant dog bone in the overhead bins.5) Working for PeanutsAt HP, salespeople receive pistachios from the marketing department when they close a significant deal. (I also wouldn’t mind if you threw in a steak dinner with those pistachios.)6) King for a DayAt his behest, Automatic Answer designated a “John Day” when salesman John Gurden reached his monthly goal. And in #AlexFromTarget fashion, the company got really, really into the holiday-for-the-sake-of-a-holiday: putting up banners, creating a dedicated John Day photo album, and even answering the phones with a special John Day greeting. 7) Hairless WonderEver wonder what your boss would look like with a shaved head? Apparently the sales team at Korry Electronics was dying to know. To incent his reps to beat a record month, the director told them he would shave his head if they could top the goal. They did, and his hair bit the dust at a party later that month. Top-performing reps got a chance to make the first cuts. Victory is bald.8) Rock-a-Bye-QuotaAs an incentive for meeting sales goals, the president of TravelTrust Corporation built a nursery in a sales manager’s house for her newborn baby. Pretty sweet … 9) Extreme Home Makeover: Work Edition… until you hear about the prize for one lucky employee at Advanced Micro Devices. As a reward for the company reaching $200 million in sales, Jocelyn Lleno won a house. Suddenly a single room seems a little less impressive.10) Boogie ShoesAs a nod to the Greek god Hermes’ golden winged sandals, employees at 3M in St. Paul, MN are given gold shoes for exceptional achievement. But they might not be as stylish as you’d hope. According to the book, “these tacky, plastic, gold-colored shoes are highly valued by employees.” Their words, not mine.What’s the most bizarre employee award you’ve ever heard of or given?Enjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Nov 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Company Culturelast_img read more