Friday, July 03, 2015

10 Reasons Why ASUS ZenFone 2 Should Be In Your Wish List

Contemplating to buy the new ASUS ZenFone 2 but don't have enough information? In this blog post, I'll provide you 10 reasons why ASUS ZenFone 2 should be in your wish list.



# 1. World's First Smartphone with 4GB RAM


With all my previous smartphones, I always felt the need to kill background apps whenever the device acted sluggish. Not the case with ZenFone 2 though, which is power packed with 4GB RAM for a perfect speed boost.


ASUS ZenFone 2

# 2. Superior Graphics Performance


Ever seen a phone with graphics so incredible that it makes you feel like using your PC? The new ZenFone 2 comes with a PowerVR 6430 GPU that not only enable Full HD video display but also transforms your phone into a gaming powerhouse.


# 3. Premium Colors to Suit Your Style


The only phone in the market available in five premium colors, the ZenFone 2 defines your personality as well as mood. Match the ASUS ZenUI theme with the magic of Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamour Red, or Ceramic White, and create sheer magic.


# 4. Reduced Bezel Width


If you believe that less is more, wait until you've seen the ZenFone 2. A 5.5 inch smartphone with reduced bezel width that makes it look smaller. In fact, you'll mistake it for a traditional 5 inch smartphone, which is remarkable to say the least. 


# 5. Classic Performance


The ZenFone 2 is truly ahead of its time. I have already talked of dual-channel DDR3 4GB RAM but that's not all. Powered with a 64-bit, 2.3GHz Super Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, ZenFone 2 features LTE Category 4+ for faster download speeds (up to 250Mbit/s) and quick touch response time (60ms).


# 6. Beauty Beyond Imagination


ASUS has employed unique molding techniques like the NCVM to provide the ZenFone 2 with a stylish metallic look. The reduction in weight and thickness has elevated the user experience to a whole new level.


# 7. Faster Charging


Can a smartphone battery be 60% charged in less than 40 minutes? ZenFone 2 makes it possible with its high-capacity 3000mAh battery that runs on ASUS BoostMaster technology. Charging your phone at double the speed is so cool.


# 8. Snapping Best Selfies Naturally


If you're crazy about taking selfies, the ZenFone 2 is the phone for you. The ergonomic arc design and highly intuitive control layout eases how you snap selfies or even adjust the volume.


# 9. High-resolution Pictures with Zero Shutter Lag


I'm a huge fan of ZenFone 2's PixelMaster technology that powers the 13MP camera with f/2.0-aperture lens. Go, capture beautiful, vivid high-resolution photos of your world with zero shutter lag. If you're crazy about shooting in the dark, the ZenFone 2 allows you to click 400% brighter photos during night.


# 10. 2015 iF Design Award Winner


When you have a beauty by your side, the entire world takes notice. The ZenFone 2 is the proud winner of the prestigious 2015 iF Design Award for its amazing product design.

ASUS has a long lineage of churning out excellent products and with ZenFone 2 the tradition continues to grow.

A Table of Taste for Food Bloggers - Courtesy Yauatcha

I always look forward to visiting Yauatcha, a Michelin star restaurant located at the second level of Delhi's Ambience Mall.

Yauatcha Delhi

Anyone who's been to Yauatcha knows that they serve the best, authentic Chinese food in the city.

Sitting at Yauatcha

Last week, I was invited yet again by Yauatcha's PR for a special food event for bloggers called "Table of Taste".


  • When: June 25, 2015 (Thursday)
  • Time: 12 pm to 2 pm
  • Venue: Level 2, Ambience Mall, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110070
  • Attendees: Popular Delhi-NCR based Food Bloggers like Sidharth Bhan Gupta, Madhu Dhawan, Megha Jain, Sagar Sharma, Nikita, and yours truly.

This was my second outing to Yauatcha Delhi, having reviewed their Summer Special Desserts (Sugar and Non Sugar) in May earlier this year. The purpose of this meet was to let bloggers know about the Dragon Boat Festival and Shaken Drinks.

Bar Area at Yauatcha

Dragon Boat Festival


Dragon Boat Festival (a. k. a. the Tuen Ng or Duanwu Festival) is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated for 10 days every year. The dates vary from year to year based on the Gregorian calendar, and this year the festival was celebrated at Yauatcha from June 20 to June 30.

Dragon Boat Festival Menu at Yauatcha

During the festival, the Chinese custom is to eat zongzi or sticky rice dish wrapped in bamboo or lotus leaves.

Zongzi

Some people also drink realgar wine and race dragon boats to pay their respect to the famous Chinese poet and minister Qu Yuan from the Zhou Dynasty.

Since the festival dates back to 2000 years, it is believed that eating zongzi will ward off any evil or disease and promote good health and well-being.

Vegetarian Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf

We tried exclusive varieties of sticky rice, specially crafted for this festival by Yauatcha's Head Chef Lum Wah Cheok.

Dragon Boat Festival at Yauatcha

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and shiitake mushroom (INR 450)
My Rating: 3 out of 5

The chicken was soft and tender and cooked really well. I didn't like the shiitake mushroom though. The two when mixed together with sticky rice is bound to leave an indelible taste in your mouth.

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and shiitake mushroom

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and prawn (INR 450)
My Rating: 3 out of 5

If you yearn for a melange of meat and sea food, try this sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf.

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and prawn

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with pork belly (INR 525)
My Rating: 4 out of 5

You can't go wrong with this sticky rice mixed with succulent, juicy pork belly. Highly recommended.

Sticky rice in lotus leaf with pork belly


Shakens


After a quick round of introductions, we ordered a few shakens like the Nara Iced Tea, Plum Cut Larissa, Kiwi and Lime, and Lalu. 

Shaken Menu at Yauatcha
Shakens at Yauatcha

These beverages are available at Yauatcha from Monday to Thursday between 12 to 7 pm and from Friday to Sunday between 4 to 7 pm.

Rishab Enjoying His Blue Lagoon at Yauatcha

Nara Iced Tea (INR 175)
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Simply loved this iced tea made of jasmine green tea, chili vanilla sugar, cinnamon, and passion fruit juice.

Nara Iced Tea

Lalu (INR 450)
My Rating: 3 out of 5

Lalu is a signature, classical Yauatcha drink made of vodka, lemon grass, oolong tea (semi-fermented tea), lychee liqueur, brown sugar, and lychee juice. The drink was quite refreshing and an instant hit with bloggers.

Lalu

Plum Cut Larissa Smoothie (INR 375)
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Everyone fell in love with this exotic summer drink made of red grapes, plums, passion fruit syrup, green apple juice, and oolong tea.

Plum Cut Larissa Smoothie

Dim Sums

 
Our senses were awakened by the cool summer beverages at Yauatcha. Later, we treated our taste buds to the delicious assorted dim sums from the Regular Select menu.

Poached Peking Dumpling

Chicken Wrapped in Pakchoi Leaves (INR 988 plus taxes)
My Rating: 4 out of 5
 
Mildly spiced, aromatic dim sums dipped in Sichuan (a. k. a. Schezwan) sauce. 

Chicken Wrapped in Pak Choi leaves with Sichuan sauce

You'll never be able to get over the natural flavors used in this variety of dim sums containing black fungus mushrooms.

Chicken Wrapped in Pakchoi Leaves

Chicken and Prawn Shu Mai (INR 550 plus taxes)
My Rating
: 3 out of 5
 
A perfect brunch item, these dim sums are little morsels of chicken and prawn wrapped in wonton skin. The freshness of these steamed dumplings is irresistible and with every bite, you can feel the juicy goodness of its filling.

Chicken and Prawn Shu Mai
 
Fried Turnip Cake with Vegetables (INR 550 plus taxes)
My Rating
: 3 out of 5
 
Vegetable Turnip Cake (a. k. a. Lo Bak Go in Cantonese) is a delicious cake mostly served around the New Year's Day to turn fortunes and bring prosperity. I quite liked this cake, which is made of Chinese turnip and daikon radish.

Fried Turnip Cake with Vegetables
 
Vegetable Chiu Chow Dumpling
My Rating
: 5 out of 5

Made of carrot, water chestnuts, and peanuts, these dumplings made me go weak at the knees. 

Vegetable Chiu Chow Dumpling
 
Charcoal Lamb Bun
My Rating
: 3 out of 5

Charcoal Lamb Bun

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling
My Rating: 4 out of 5
 
Made of carrot, water chestnuts, black fungus mushroom, potato starch, these dumplings tasted awesome to say the least. They are called "crystal dumpling" since you can literally see through them.

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling
 
Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling
My Rating
: 2 out of 5
 
Shiitake Mushroom is known for its health-promoting properties. That said, between the Vegetable Crystal Dumpling and Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling, the former earns more brownie points - purely on the basis of taste.

Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling
 
Cheung Fun
My Rating: 5 out of 5

This dish was recommended by Manoj Bhatia, who is the General Manager at Yauatcha.

Cheung Fun

Crispy from inside, Cheung Fun is made of carrots, corns, mushrooms, and steamed rice flour sheet.

Cheung Fun

We ended the meet on a "sweet" note by trying a new range of delicious, chef special desserts like the Eggless Mango and Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake, sugar free Chocolate Mandarin Mille Feuille, and sugar free Tiramisu.

Chocolate and Mandarin Mille Feuille (Sugar Free)

The variety of menu surprised us to the core. And wonderful conversations around food made the evening truly memorable.

Food Bloggers at Yauatcha
A Blogger Meet to Remember

Monday, June 29, 2015

Learning the Nuances of New Age Marketing at Inception Day

Earlier this month I was invited by Inception Business Services (IBS) to cover an event on the Nuances of New Age Marketing at JW Marriott, Aerocity, Delhi.


The event was called Inception Day and had the following agenda:
  • 1630 to 1730: Understanding of New Age Marketing – IBS Talk and E-book release, followed by Q&A. 
  • 1735 to 1815: Marketing in the retail space. What's new and what is working by Nissan Joseph - MD Crocs India, followed by Q&A. 
  • 1820 to 1900: B2B Marketing – Its changing face and how it is working by Venkatesh Valluri - Chairman Ingersoll Rand India, followed by Q&A. 
  • 1900 to 1915: Break 
  • 1920 to 2020: Keynote Speech by Nitish Kapoor - Regional Director (Asia) Reckitt Benckiser India. Marketing in the new age and understanding the Banega Swachh India initiative. How CSR is working and what to do with it, followed by Q&A.
  • 2020 to 2030: Vote of thanks 
  • 2030 onwards: Networking and dinner

Spot me if you can!

So what is Inception Day, you may ask?

Excerpt from the invite:
"Inception Day 2015 is a marketing conference hosted by Inception Business Services (IBS). Endeavoring to drive conversations and derive learning that marketers and business owners can apply, this year the focus is on new age marketing. Structured as a four hour event on the 5th of June, it will provide multiple perspectives on the nuances of new-age marketing. You can expect to hear about what is happening in this space, how brands and businesses are using it successfully and what you can do to adapt it for your own business. The idea is to have a power packed conversation with insights that you can use in your own business."
The invitation was extended to CEOs, CMOs, Heads of Businesses, Seasoned Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Seasoned Marketers. I attended the event as a Blogger.

Introductory Session by Mala Dhalani


Mala introduced us to the all women team of Inception Business Services. It was purely coincidental that a group of 11 women marketers from different parts of India decided to join hands together four years ago and start the Inception Day.

Mala Dhalani

Key Learning from Mala's Presentation
  • She thanked the partners of Inception Day - MudPie India for Design, Makoba - Luxury Essentials for Gifts, and The Smart CEO Magazine - Media and Event partner. 
  • Inception Business Services provides end-to-end marketing and consulting services, both as a vendor and a partner. 
  • New Age Marketing is about doing the same old things differently. It affects clients, partners, and client's customers. 
  • The concept of New Age Marketing is 10 to 15 years old only and was first realized in early 2000. 
  • Communication is no longer a one-way street. The communication is now two-way and brands have to be wary about today's customers. 
  • Tech is changing at an unimaginable pace. Every six months, you'll see a new, emerging technology that is either disruptive or a potential game changer. 
  • Brands are now able to experiment by putting their money behind New Age Marketing. 
  • New Age Marketing is affordable, making it a level-playing field for brands. 
  • Couple of ways brands can capitalize: 
    • Social Media Marketing (Example: #Mission Swacch Bharat by Prime Minister of India. The campaign was endorsed by nine famous celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan, who joined the cleanliness drive across the streets of India. Many felt it was a rip-off of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge.) 
    • Content Marketing: Brands are now working with experts in content marketing and content creation. Content Marketing is not just about creating content but where you intend to take it. (Example: MakeMyTrip is now available on all platforms. They are one brand that used Pinterest well apart from Facebook and Twitter. The brand has over 4 million views on YouTube alone.) 
    • Creating Brand Platforms: As a brand, you should not throw your product in the face of the customers. (Example: Coke Studio @ MTV, which caters to the youth (target audience) through music. The platform promotes budding artists and stalwarts from all over India.) 
    • Other methods include Digital Advertising and Marketing, Websites, etc. 
  • Future lies in Video. 55% of our country is watching videos daily.
    • Example #1: Google Search: Reunion video on YouTube has more than 12 million views.)

    • Example #2: Brave and Beautiful - Dabur Vatika Salutes Female Cancer Survivors

  • India has the highest penetration of mobile subscribers. Brands should create content for mobile. (Examples: Myntra and Flipkart). 
  • Brands should know: 
    • Who are you? 
    • What you deliver to customer? 
    • What is your identity? 
  • Your product has to be great too. 
    • Example #1: Urban Ladder, who introduced the concept of Furniture Online. They sell great furniture online at super cool prices. They started with three Indian cities first, offering a complete home solution and knew exactly what customers wanted. 
    • Example #2: Paper Boat sells all your favorite old flavor drinks in a new avatar. Drinking a Paper Boat brings back nostalgic memories from childhood. 
    • Example # 3: Magzter, which took the concept of digital magazine newsstand and book store to a new level altogether. This cross-platform, self-service, store has over 6000 magazines and more than 50000 books and comic titles from 2000+ publishers. They now have over 26 million users and have truly enabled digital reading of content. Publishers can come to Magzter and set up their magazine at literally zero cost. 
  • You need to have very clear goals on Social Media. (Example: Slice of Health by Chola MS General Insurance was initially a radio show aired in Chennai. The show did not talk of insurance per se but how you can take care of yourself. From being a Tamil Nadu based radio show, it has now amplified to a national radio show. They also run a site by the same name, a platform meant to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.) 
  • Brands should focus on consistency, listening and responding, customizing and personalizing. Be out there every day (Example: Ola Cabs) and address complaints wholeheartedly (Flipkart). 
  • Bewakoof.com - a site that sells trendy clothes for men/women, mobile cases, and more online - is run by college kids in the age group of 16 to 25. 
  • For B2B and B2C customers, deploy different communication for different audiences.

First Speaker - Nissan Joseph, Managing Director - Crocs India


Nissan's experience of over 20 years includes Senior Management roles across footwear and accessories brands in domestic and international markets. His career has spanned leadership roles in both wholesale and retail formats. Through his life he has traveled extensively and worked with businesses in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Having worked in key positions in Sales, Marketing, Logistics and General Management, his perspective on new-age marketing is rich with insights. Nissan attended the University of New Delhi and has an MBA from the Sydney Graduate School of Management, Australia.

Nissan Joseph

Key Learning from Nissan's Presentation
  • The global retail landscape has changed a lot. 
  • Brands need to stay appropriate and relevant. 
  • Keep your brand discussions around consumer and your product. 
  • 41% people in India survive under $1 a day. 42% people in India survive under $2 a day. And India has more than 1.5 billion people. Ironically, we also have the largest billionaires in India. 
  • Customers are screen lovers. They keep moving from one screen to another and are more engineered for screens. 
  • Zip code fragmentation is changing. Brands should go beyond this type of fragmentation. 
  • Organized retail in India is just 15%. The 85% is not accountable (Reference to Kirana stores in India). 
  • We have more eCommerce players than we're ready for. The current model is a very disruptive model. 
  • Another trend we're seeing these days is a collaborative consumption movement. Example: Taxis used in Uber
  • We're living in a unique world. Competitors are also collaborating. 
  • Crocs is a 13-years-old company. They started their US operations in 2002. In India they are just about 7-years-old. 
  • The brand Crocs is about being colorful, fun, relaxed, etc. But at one point, they were also called hideous and quirky. 
  • Controversy creates dialog. Dialog creates awareness. 
  • Crocs sold 300 million pairs across the world. 
  • #FindYourFun campaign on Instagram and Twitter was an instant hit. Under this campaign, people were asking to create a look for the Crocs Funway Runway. You choose a model, costume, and Crocs shoes. And Crocs sent them flying down a 5-story water slide. 
  • People are turning to YouTube for search (Number 2 search engine after Google). 
  • Look at customers backward. 
  • It's not what you do. It's what you do for me. 
  • Anchor what's not going to change - convenience, value, ease of experience, love, etc. How you deliver is changing. 
  • As a brand, you have nowhere to hide now. Everything you do makes an impression.

Second Speaker - Venkatesh Valluri, Chairman - Ingersoll Rand India


Venkatesh has been associated with various industries for over 30 years. He has Leadership, Operational and General Management experiences spanning the regions of India, Europe and the USA. Before joining Ingersoll Rand, Venky was the President and Country Manager of Agilent Technologies. He is an Executive-Committee member of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), is the Chairman of the National Committee on Technology of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and also serves on the Prime Minister’s Fellowship scheme board for Doctoral Research grants. He holds a Bachelor’s in Technology in Electronics and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.

Venkatesh Valluri

Key Learning from Venkatesh's Presentation
  • How do you create markets - Work for a cause associated with human value. Example: Venky ran a B2B campaign for Energy Efficiency in Smart Cities. 
  • Communicate solutions and do not make your products look bigger. 
  • Think markets, create products.

Keynote Speaker - Nitish Kapoor, Regional Director - Asia, Reckitt Benckiser (RB)


Nitish has more than two decades of experience across diverse categories and international geographies. Nitish joined RB India as a Management Trainee from FMS Delhi in 1993. After a series of roles in Sales and Marketing, he moved in 2002 to Global HQ, UK as a Global Brand Marketing Manager. In 2006 he was appointed Marketing Director for RB Southern Africa before moving to Portugal as Managing Director in 2010. From 2012 he was Global Category Director at Global HQ, UK before returning to India as Managing Director in 2013.

Nitish Kapoor

Key Learning from Nitish's Presentation
  • Reckitt Benckiser believes in Healthier Lives, Healthier Homes. 
  • Old Age Marketing is still relevant. 
  • RB focused on Purpose Led Marketing. Examples: Dettol and Harpic campaigns are trusted brands in India. 
  • Dettol has been used by 6 million children, 20 thousand schools, and 4 million mothers in India. On the other hand, Harpic has been used in 14 million homes in India. 
  • Purpose of the brand should align with the purpose of the company. 
  • RB organized a 12-hour Banega Swachh India Cleanathon on NDTV with help from 19 chief ministers of India and more than 20 celebrities. 
  • RB believes that health of a nation is equal to wealth of a nation. 
  • Purpose of your business should be significant. 
  • Dettol brought a behavioral change as 600 million people washed hands during the campaign. 
  • One district in Maharashtra became an open defecation zone. 
  • RB is creating a multipurpose solution that will be able to clean fecal matter. 
  • Focus on Cause Related Marketing. Example: Hunger Ki Bajao campaign, in which viewers were asked to help in fight against hunger by donating towards the Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-for-profit organization that serves food to over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India.


Throughout the event, the audience kept the momentum going by asking relevant and interesting questions on new age marketing.

Q&A In Progress

Finally, if you want to know how some of the best global brands are doing with regards to their marketing and learn from it, Inception Day is not to be missed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mrs. Delhi NCR 2015: Redefining Beauty for Married Indian Women

It is not every day that you're invited to a beauty pageant. So when I was asked to cover the grand finale of Mrs. Delhi NCR 2015 as a blogger, I jumped out of my skin.


The event was organized by Glamour Gurgaon, an organization committed towards showcasing local talent. For me, this pageant signified the very essence of womanhood - compassion, courage, and charisma.

Day & Date: Friday, June 20, 2015
Venue: Hotel Country Inn and Suites, Sohna Road, Gurgaon, Haryana.
Time: 7 ~ 10pm 


The VIP guest list comprised the who's who of the glamour and entertainment industries, including:
  • Rahul Roy: Bollywood Actor
  • Aseem Merchant: Bollywood Actor
  • Parvathy Omanakuttan: Miss India World 2008
  • Sanjana Jon: Bollywood Fashion Designer
  • Anita Dogre: Fashion Designer



It was heartening to see the new face of married Indian women from Delhi NCR; 22 of whom had braved the odds to participate in this pageant. 


The participants in this edition of Mrs. Delhi NCR 2015 came from different walks of life, and were in the age group of 23 to 45 years old.


The pageant was divided into three rounds:
  • Round I: Ramp walk in evening gown and traditional wear, followed by individual introductions
  • Round II: Ramp walk in Poonam Dubey's collection
  • Round III: Ramp walk in finale collection, followed by Q&A

The dance performances from Nrityaa kept the audience enthralled in-between rounds.



The pretty ladies also contested for titles like:
  • Mrs. Beautiful Smile
  • Mrs. Perfect Walk
  • Mrs. Photogenic
  • Mrs. Drama Queen
  • Mrs. Beautiful Body


The walk to the grand finale wasn't particularly an easy one for the participants, who had to undergo extensive training, plus personal and personality grooming sessions.

After much fanfare, the following participants were declared the winners for this year. 
  • Mrs. Delhi NCR 2015: Mrs. Anuradha Bhayana (34) from Gurgaon
  • 1st Runner-up: Mrs. Neha Khanna (32) from Gurgaon
  • 2nd Runner-up: Mrs. Manisha Gupta (28) from Ghaziabad



For most married women who competed in this pageant, this could very well be a fresh start into the world of glamour and fame. I'm pretty sure that this event will inspire several other women to believe in themselves and let their inner beauty and knowledge transcend all barriers.