Vegera

Maria, the Greek model, I became friends with on my transit flight from Mumbai to Delhi in January 2014, told me that in Creta, where she is from, they use a lot of Turkish words in their daily language due to the Turkish influence on the islanders in the past. Among those words, Vegera was a popular one. I told her I had never heard of such a word before and asked her what it meant. In her thick Cretan accent, Maria said, " When people sit together all night, talk , dance, eat and drink, sing songs, until the dawn. When they have a good time together around a table, that's when we say we make vegera." There are certain words in almost every language that echoes the culture, traditions and history more than anything. You can almost visualize the word in action in that culture- if you know it well. Since that time, I decided that's what my blog should be named after: "Vegera." It brings as much happiness to me as the word Keyf-i Alem ! Even though my blog's initial name Entry Level Philly and its objectives will continue to resonate throughout my entries, I believe that Vegera is more appropriate for the way I live my life- at least at this point in my life. So, this blog will be about anything from restaurants and bars I visit across the world, especially in Philadelphia to my travels across the world and life adventures- which somehow make up a lot of crazy stories in my life and to Brand stories, aka advertising.

However, more than anything, and especially recently, I have been writing a lot more about branding and advertising. A print ad, a video, an inspiring story about a brand or a company. I write about those stories that inspire me and provoke me to think deeper into the matter.  It is because I find the ad world absolutely fascinating, with lots of imagination and creativity but also strategic thinking. It is like watching a sci-fi show. I'm an aspiring advertising professional and more specifically an account planner. So in Vegera, you'll find plenty of ad related posts.

Lastly, who is the author of Vegera? She's originally from Istanbul, Turkey- trying to figure out where on earth she wants to travel next.Currently, In Philly, working as a communications specialist for a small medical supply company, located outside the city. I work with people-mainly athletes with disabilities. You'll also probably see some inspiring stories from my work life, as you read this blog. When busy saving up money for traveling/ or concerts, i.e. busy with stressful work life, I like observing people, their behavior, interactions with others and drinking wine.This should be enough info on the author now. You'll probably find out more as you continue to read my entries... There will be a lot of personal opinions, feelings and emotions articulated.. Hope you stay long to make vegera with me .. Ciao.

Who I Follow

Ran the 5K walk n roll for Spina Bifida this morning representing my company ABC Medical. It was a gorgeous fall morning for a run. I finished it in a little less than 25 minutes, came in second place in female division. I was running with my friends in wheelchairs who were rolling alongside me. It was truly special! I feel lucky to have met some of the nicest and coolest people in my life in the past 2,5 years of my career. And I made countless new friends who l inspire me and teach me to be strong everyday. So, just wanted to say Thank you to all of you ! Happy Saturday. ☺️😘#AdaptBelieveCompete #SBAwareness #spinabifida #5K #spinalcordinjury #walknroll visit out website for more info: www.abc-med.com (at Boathouse Row)

A perfect guide for Kellogg’s before entering a new country with its cereal brands. Different breakfast traditions around the world. 

I have been working with and for people with physical disabilities for over 2 years now. 2 years ago my life was different . While I was aware of the reality of physical and mental disabilities, I was never fully immersed to it to understand the community. I must say that I now do understand and am able to empathize with people with physical disabilities. I have met incredible people in these 2 years who I call “good friends” of mine that I would like to be in touch with for the rest of my life. 

Today, I had a slightly different experience though… It lasted perhaps less than 10 minutes. I interacted with a man with speech impediment. He didn’t speak a word. At first, I treated him like anyone and talked to him and asked him questions about his needs. I assumed he was capable of talking. I even waited a while to hear back from him. Nothing.. He kept looking and making sings with his hands. Thank god it didn’t take me any longer to understand his disability.  With my friends in wheelchairs I usually bend down on my knees to speak to them to better hear them and talk to them. Or when we are taking pictures I always make sure I get down on my knees. This is a courtesy thing… Not a social norm. In fact, sooo many people don’t do it. I feel both physically and emotionally close to them and that’s why I do it. In today’s interaction with the man with speech impediment, I couldn’t bent down on my knees or do anything I was used to before.  Instead, I did something that even shocked me: I became silent. My silence was a natural reaction to his silence. I never understand silent language before, because I have always thought it had its own alphabet and weird and almost funny signs.  But, today I understood this man standing in front me asking me questions about my company’s business and types of products we carried.  And I communicated with him silently throughout the whole conversation which again lasted less than 10 minutes. He asked me questions and I answered. There were no words spoken, no voice heard. It was more than an exchange of signs, it was an exchange of understanding, of empathy. It was special.  He left with a smile on his face; whereas I was left with tears in my eyes by the density of emotions I had and by the magical nature of the experience I just had. 

And there it was… a whole new perspective to the way I see and interact with people. 

Imagine an immense ocean full of all sorts of animals and fishes. You dive in to see what is out there that will satisfy your tastebuds. Anything can be a potential feast. Unless you have the confidence and courage to act like the big fish and try to get a taste of others, you will never find out which one is right for you.
Consumer insight is like that. Unless you get out there and treat everything that comes along your way as a potential opportunity, you will never find out whether that’s an opportunity lost or gained. Every person you meet, every story you read, every relationship that you build can feed into something bigger and better. You gotta think big. You gotta open your mind and soul. You gotta let every opportunity come to you. Listen and observe for a while. Then take a step back and think about how that experience can help build a larger experience for you. Ask the right questions and listen to the answers carefully. You’d be surprised to see how much interconnected people are and how much in common we all have with each other. Any conversation you have with anyone could be a potential opportunity for you to gain insight into what you’re doing. If you narrow down your options and limit your opportunities, you’ll be stuck doing the same thing over and over again. You might not fail nor you will not get any bigger.

This article on Kellogg’s’ Cereal Brand’s attempt in entering the Indian market is a thoroughly researched and a well written one, proving the significance of gaining market insight before investing in millions of dollars for a what turns out to be a phantom market.
Countries like India, China that all make up the BRIC, tend to be mouth watering for companies looking to expand their customer base. The size of these countries is enormous promising a fresh stream of revenue based on volume. What companies might fail to see is the story these countries are trying to tell. With so much culture and history, traditions play a significant role in establishing consumer behavior. In this article, Kellogg’s missed some important elements in the Indian Breakfast traditions, which in hindsight looks quite easy to identify with a little bit of research. Had the marketing team of Kellogg’s spent 2-3 days in a traditional indian family setting they would have seen the type of breakfast eaten at the table. Cold vs. hot food that the article argued as well as the sweet vs. salty as someone suggested in a comment seem rather easy to identify.
In addition to what the article suggested as far as marketing strategy, i’d like to contribute with my own humble opinion that is solely based on my personal relationship with Indians for the past 5-6 years - all college friendships. Each year, India sends thousands of middle class and upper class students to colleges in the US or the UK. Not only do these kids receive a western style education, but they get exposed to the fast and furious kind of lifestyle these countries offer. Going to early classes having barely slept, finishing up papers last minute, studying for tests and getting involved with extracurricular activities all make up for more than 24 hours. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is little time to prepare a meal for yourself and sit down to eat it. Cereal becomes a crucial meal for breakfast , lunch, snacks and sometimes even dinner. Because there is really no time to eat anything else. The tempting packaging of these cereals and the wide variety of flavors available add a little bit of excitement to the experience. By the end of college, all international students will have usually tried a good variety of cereals and picked a couple of their favorite ones. A personal note here, it only took me one year to get used to this cereal fashion that, in summer break of my freshman year, i packed 4 boxes of the Life Cereal and took them  with me to Istanbul. Although, looking back this sounds like the most idiotic thing I could ever do, not only because of the risk of finding the cereals all crashed in the bag, but also because the Turkish breakfast should never be replaced by a stupid cereal that I eat in the U.S. everyday. Well, the first thing did happen and I only had a half box of cereal that I was able to actually enjoy for a few days. If your brain doesn’t give you the right signals something else does.. Thank god I didn’t eat more cereal than what was left that summer. Turkish Breakfast was so much better! But i digress… 

What I’m saying is that those of us who get used to the flavor of a certain cereal brand and who go back home after college to start our own careers, do look for things to remember our experience back in the U.S. In fact, when we relive it in our own countries, it tastes so much better and the whole experience is a lot more enjoyable. Another example is the american songs that randomly play in bars and clubs in Europe, that make the whole “American Crew” go crazy as they reminisce the good old times back in the U.S. 

So, i think that this is another insight that could be taken into account for the Kellogg’s Cereal brand. Focusing on those students who had been consuming cereal for 4+ years abroad and who are looking for small things in their lives that will make them remember those “college days”. 

I am  imaging a kind of emotional ad in which the protagonist, with the first bite of the cereal finds himself back on college campus or in his dorm room or the cafeteria with his friends relaxing or doing a reading.. I personally would relate to that ad and would want to go get the cereal. :) 

This article is perfect to understand the importance of gaining good insight into the consumer market before making a big move whether it be new product launch or a new commercial.

that’s the great thing about learning new languages. every word is like a key. the more words you know in more languages, the more you can unlock hidden meanings around you.
Chris Kocek @ TedxYouthAustin
my weird way of seeing the world would actually end up becoming one of my biggest strengths.
Chris Kocek @ tedxaustin
The stars have all lined up. They are all leading me towards the new chapter in my life. The people I meet, the stories I hear, the relationships I build and didn’t build are all part of this journey. And the journey is coming to an end. Even though I don’t see it, I feel it. It’s close. This fight, this fatigue will soon be over. With a happier ending..
Friendships we make and people around us shape our personalities. I’m often told to be a compassionate and generous person who genuinely loves helping others. It’s humbling to hear that. If that is slightly accurate, it is because I get my energy and inspiration from my family, friends and people i work for. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be surrounded by such unique and positive people who make me who i am today and i cannot thank them enough for that.