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 in Philly 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.
In fact, there is recently a lot more posts on advertising than anything else. 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, 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.
it’s time for a change in spirit, to free your mind, set sails to the endless sea, and to vegera.
I’ve been reading a lot about building strategies and how focus groups constitute an important element of it- if not vital to that process. The books and blogs I read are mostly written by strategists at agencies who moderate focus groups to get a better understanding of their clients' needs/ anticipations/ desires/ daily routines. Then their job is to share their results with their clients and discuss how to best come up with a strategy.
Today, I had my first official focus group that I moderated. “If your career doesn’t take you where you wanna go, you take it.” I have been passionate about my job and helping people with disabilities, but I feel that as a company we need a change in our communication with our consumers as we’re hitting some road blocks-especially as a team not necessarily as a company- yet.
So, I presented the luncheon series to our management team with the purpose of bringing some accomplished young folks in wheelchairs in our area together and have them say what they wanna say about catheters, living with a disability, medical supplies, daily issues. These students/ recent college grads had so much to say and I felt privileged to be there at that moment for over an hour.
We were about 6 people and I had about 10 written questions to ask even though I knew as conversation flowed, I’d be asking other follow up questions. One of my hesitations from the very beginning was how to present myself and my boss, who is there to make money but also excited to hear what these kids had to say. I was first reluctant to even mention I was from ABC. But then my boss introduced himself that way and I felt like it would be hypocritical to not mention where I work and what our ultimate goal is. At that moment I realized that I was not only marketing the least marketable product in the world, aka catheter (YET, soon it will change i strongly believe!) and I was also moderating an in-house focus group with my boss wearing an ABC Medical shirt on. From another perspective, I thought that it would be beneficial for not only us but for the participants to know that we are indeed from ABC and were taking the time to meet these individuals because we care and value their opinions. Soon my reluctance turned into pride. Then, 2 participants kind of revealed they were with ABC medical, not in a very explicit manner but still sort of… One of them asked, “i guess I’m with you guys for about 6 months now? ” I tried to make a point that it didn’t matter at all, we were just interested in learning more about her. Then, towards the end, I was pleasantly surprised to hear them giving suggestions on what we can do that’s different from competitors. and those suggestions were quite big and worthy of planning well to pursue later! A few self-criticism both positive and negative
1- I could have introduced myself a little better ( again I think I was somewhat confused as to how to present myself still that’s why!)
2- the setting of the room was ok. next time I wanna make sure we’re more of a round table as opposed to a long rectangular.
3- It was great we had pizza and beverages!
4- I didn’t have a recorder but i think I did a great job taking notes, same with my boss.
5- Questions were definitely thought provoking.
6- I let them spend too much time on the first few questions and didn’t havee enough time towards the end.
7- The purpose of the focus group could have been made a little bit more clear. I really wanted to have them sign a consent form, which i had actually prepared. But my boss said he’d have to run it by the attorneys to get their blessing on it. It was too late and therefore we decided we won’t do it.
8- huge dilemma although I knew the answer: so there were 2-3 people who use supplies through a different company. At the end of the group, I did take their contact information to follow up. How appropriate is it to ask them whether they’d consider switching on a follow up email? Yes, Huge Dilemma! I run into this regularly as I befriend people and then feel super awkward to ask them to support my company. I shouldn’t though! I know I shouldn’t.
Overall, especially for the first big focus group that I had to moderate in my life, It was a wonderful experience. The best part was to get feedback from the participants at the end that they enjoyed it a lot and found it very informative. If participants can take something out of a focus group too, then I say we’ve succeeded! I personally took my notes and learned my lessons. The next one shall be a lot better, more organized and structured! Can’t wait!