Lean product label design

I experienced the Internet back in 1998 for the first time, back then there were very few websites (especially Indian websites) and “design” was not something that was a priority. Soon I got fascinated with HTML and started learning it by myself… back then I had downloaded a software called the coffeecup html editor and surprisingly it is available till date. Prior to learning html, I had learnt photoshop as well and it came very handy when i started designing websites. Till this date I use photoshop to make mockups, logo etc.

Now that you know where I am coming from, it’s no surprise that when it came to launching Satthwa, I designed the logo, but creating a label and that too a professional looking label was a little out of my league. I thought of hiring a design firm who could not just create label for me but design the packaging etc. The quotes which I got were way too much for a bootstrapped startup to afford. Hence I decided to take this as a challenge and do this on my own.

I had just finished reading “The Lean Startup” and thought, why not try an incorporate it’s principles in my design strategy… the thought itself was very hard for me as i am something of a perfectionist who wants everything to look perfect at launch itself… rather than incremental improvements.

At the time of the launch, I did not even know how many bottles i would be able to sell and how long it would take to sell as the was a new brand with no track record and was priced much above it’s competition. Hence the decision become all the more difficult to launch with a professional looking label which would create a brand value or go with something which is simple and can be launched without any delay.

I choose to go the LEAN way and launch the product with a simple designed label and then improve on it at a later point of time.

Below is how the label looked and the bottled looked back in March 2016 (Time of launch)

Satthwa old Label

Here is the new label design, changed somewhere around July-August 2016

Satthwa new label design

If you see from the front, you will not see much of a change as the main changes is in the background design, text almost remains the same. The not so noticeable difference is the quality of the paper used, lamination which is now a part of the new label and die-cutting to give it rounded edges. However even this might not be the final version as I constantly think of ways to improve it further.

The take away from this article would be that no matter how much you would want things to look “perfect” when you launch, there will be always scope for improvement.. Do not let this delay the launch, keep improving it incrementally.

Sharing knowledge is the way to go!

It’s been a while since I last blogged and I do have a very good reason for that. Satthwa, my new startup has kept me very busy, not just in terms of handling operations and scaling but also in terms of ‘education.’

If you had asked me anything about hair care / hair oils / shampoos etc 8 months back, I would have had no idea about it. For the last few months, I have been on a quest to educate myself and learn whatever I can, whenever I can. The best place to learn is of course the internet, but I always verify the authority of the resource that I am learning from and almost always check at least 2-3 other resources to have a broader outlook.

The direct impact of this learning / research is that I am able to understand my product better and in turn this helps me create a better product.

There is a saying that “knowledge grows when you share” and I completely believe in it and that is one of the reasons I have recently been active on Quora as well. Quora allows me not just share my knowledge but also read from other peoples experiences and gain better understanding of a topic. When I answer a question, I try to explain the reason / science behind my answer as well so that people reading it know why they have to do something, instead of someone just tell them to do it.

Thanks to the awesome response which I have received on Quora, I am not the #1 Most viewed Writer in Hair Care.

Most viewed writer in Hair Care on Quora.com

Vodafone India 3G vs 4G speed test

Vodafone India 4GToday I got the Vodafone 4G sim delivered to my home and I must say that the service was quick, I had smsed for the switch over from 3G to 4G and the sim was delivered to me within 2 days.

So the purpose of this article is to test the speed between 3G and 4G network on Vodafone. Let’s get started!

To keep this test as fair as possible. I am using the same phone (Xiaomi Mi4i) for the speed test and even the same phone number, once before porting it, while it was still on 3G and after porting to 4G. Also, the phone was placed in the exact same spot for both the tests. The screenshots you see below, on the left is the 3G (denoted by H+) and on the right is the 4G. And WOW! I am getting .43mbps download speed more on 4G, a 10% improvement. Of course i am being sarcastic, Vodafone spends thousands of crores on 4G spectrum license and this is what we get? I think i was better of with 3G. By the way, i have tested with Airtel as well and on the 3 different occasions which i tests, the results were quite similar to a 3G speed, mostly between 2-4mbps.

Typically 4G LTE speed is supposed to be 10 times 3G which means I should be getting between 30-40mbps downloads but that’s certainly not the case. I hope this is not just another way to move customers to 4G for free initially and then start making them pay more while giving them the same speed as before.

Vodafone 3g vs 4g speed test

Please note: I am not comparing the upload speed, simply because that does not matter as much on a normal usage.

Monitoring your outsourced social media campaigns is a must!

Most of the Brands & Startups alike outsource their social media marketing / search engine marketing along with many other such services… but how many monitor their campaigns once they have been outsourced?

I came across a sponsored post on my Facebook today which made me think on the age old question.. in-house vs outsource?

Look at the campaign below… There are some major mistakes in this campaign. Can you spot them?

ET Media Labs - Tjori Campaign

1. The brand advertised in the images “Tjori” is a fashion brand
2. The text below the images is for CARS24.com
3. The link which i clicked the banner lead me to ETMediaLabs.com (well, this you could not have spotted)
4. Probably the most important of all, why are they selling women fashion to me? Completely wrong target market.

When i clicked through to etmedialabs.com, i was greeted with the bold banner which read “An IIT & IIM Alumni Venture.” and below that there was another banner which said “WE PROMISE 30% BETTER ROI AND CPA VIA PRECISE TARGETING”. (sidenote: i could not find a link to their SLA to check on the “promise” delivery terms)

ET Media Labs

Clearly this is far from their claims. I would urge all startups not to “blindly” trust companies which are run by IIT & IIM Alumni’s. You need to do your homework, set a benchmark for your campaign performance and then evaluate the outsourced companies performance and claims against that benchmark to see if they have actually achieved. Get involved with the process as much as you can, after all it’s your MONEY and the credibility of your BRAND at stake!

Update: After 9 hours of posting this article, the Ad. continues to be displayed and has started to get comments as well!

Tjori comments on FB ad.