Kites as a Business Tool
Using a kite as symbol of success in business is appropriate because we always strive for the best. The sky is the limit, as the saying goes. We want soaring profits.
Many companies use the eagle as the symbol of durability because it flies to the highest branch. Aim for the stars we are told so business can use the kite as a symbol to pump up the troops.
Motivational speakers are a common presence in business conferences. The plan is for them to pep up managers so that productivity can go up the graph. Such speakers should also use the analogy of a kite to instill teamwork and simple tools necessary to strengthen a business.
Better still, business and computer engineering colleges should introduce a kite making course to prepare students for the real world, which is working from the ground up in order to reach the tip of the pyramid.
Businesses are there to make money or to get a healthy return for their investment, to use business terminology. Studying business in college has a clear destination, being a player in the world of commerce like working for Tata Industries Ltd. or starting your own company.
Computer engineering students dream of developing effective software or apps that might be bought by the navy, Bombardier, Google or Microsoft. Om Jai Jagadish, directed by Anupam Kher is one of my favourite ‘techie’ (technology) movies.
It demonstrates how two brothers Jai (Fardeen Khan) and Jagadish (Abhishek Bachchan) use computers to save their beachfront home, which is now surrounded by condominium buildings.
Kites As Business Tools
A kite is basically a business plan. Its ability to fly high depends on the wooden cross, the string, paper and other materials used to make it.
A kite is not a centipede. It is supposed to soar and not shuffle along at zero kilometres an hour. Better still. It should surpass the competition in the air.
A business plan is a funny thing. It is a blueprint to entice or attract customers that usually live ordinary lives, as compared to men in suits that wrote it. That great divide sometimes works or takes a nosedive.
It reminds me of a workshop I attended in Lesotho, Africa where some non-governmental organisation (NGO) from abroad, came to teach women the value of breastfeeding. The eight women under a tree had kids which must have been a year or older, feeding on their breasts.
It didn’t dawn on the NGO officials that their efforts were wasted in that situation, especially in Africa where women breastfeed longer than mothers in Europe and North America. What was the aim of that workshop?
Obviously, the NGO used the wrong materials. That is why its kite never took off. Maybe, the aim was not to impart new knowledge but to get funding to fly to a sunny part of the world, under the pretext of bringing development.
The ideal situation is where suppliers live with the people and they know exactly what goods and services are needed. That is what makes market women in most West African countries so powerful.
The string is very important in a kite. The longer it is, the higher the owner can manipulate it. The disadvantages of a short string are numerous.
The kite might free itself and fly over the rooftops, never to be seen again. Worse still, it might land on mama’s washing on the line, a possibility feared by many.
The market offers many different kinds and colours of string now, but children in many parts of the world still use the old school string and all kinds of recycled materials.
Winds of Change
The texture of the cross, the string, paper and decorations on a kite are useless if they do not achieve the intended goal: let’s say to sell more toothpaste.
It becomes even more crucial if somebody else’s money is involved like a bank loan. Financial institutions have their reasons for providing and declining loans.
The business plan is the starting point I suppose with all the Excel spreadsheets and future projections but, there is a missing kite material if it does not recognize that it will be suicidal to manufacture dinner plates because Jamie Oliver and all other cooking shows cannot bring back family members to the dinner table.
KFC is one company that listened to the wind and adjusted its kite accordingly. It used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Winds of change blew in and the world associated fried food with all kinds of diseases detrimental to the heart. The chicken company kept its red colors but decided to freeze frame ‘fried’ and today it is known as just KFC.
The joy of watching kites is the way they dance to the wind. It is ironic isn’t it? Somebody is pulling the kite’s string. The wind also calls the shots, bending the kite this way and that way.
Customers have always been queens and kings. That is why we say ‘the customer is always right.’ The internet has given them more power, click power, to get rid of messages they don’t want to see.
That is why it is important for advertisers to know which way the wind is blowing, especially with online video ads.
People selling cars, shampoo or pet food are online because they are following the crowds. Traffic used to be on television and radio, now it is online day in and day out, ‘24/7’ as the kids put it.
There are all kinds of people that rely on online advertising. Look closely at a photo or video of an elephant. It has little birds pecking it.
There is something they eat from that rough skin, but I regard it as a massage. Big old elephant is too big to scratch his back so nature devised a solution to the problem.
Some people regard advertising as Mr. Elephant himself, forcing itself on poor folks who just want to read interesting blogs, news items or watch movies. That is why they find online videos irritating and click them away, sometimes shutting down everything they were watching.
Therefore, it is for advertisers to know which way the wind is blowing. Can you sell something in 15 seconds flat? Will viewers click the message SKIP AD if they know it is for only fifteen seconds? You want a 29 seconds’ video ad? It must be gripping. It must be hypnotising or plain awesome, as teens put.
Strategies like Blogger Ad Sense do not worry many viewers because they are on the left, right or bottom of the page and do not interfere with reading. Videos are motion therefore, they are difficult to ignore. Whatever advertisers do, they must not lose viewers’ goodwill.
If business and computer engineering colleges had courses for kite making, they will make students do something with their hands besides romancing their phones and other devices that provide instant answers that are not necessarily correct.
More importantly, it will remind them that they can control start-up capital, potential customers using their data bases and basically everything that concerns their business kites, but they cannot control the wind.
Obviously, there is no kite flying when it is raining. A well-made kite is one that adjusts to the wind, using lighter materials. It is nothing personal. It is business, to quote a character from the film The Godfather.
Graduation day? Students must fly their kites on college lawns. Awesome!