2013 – 365 days of engagement

02 Jan,2013


By Kartik Iyer


It was a year that began with hope. Hope that we were well past the depressed market, the global turmoil and the poor fiscal reports. Hope that predicted media growth in the range of 12+ percent.


But as 2012 wore on, it became clear that this was not to be. While it began well, by the end of the first quarter itself signs of what was to come were being seen. Signs of continuing depression, poor fiscal reports for many European countries and signs of uncontrolled inflation within India. All of this meant that the consumer would react and probably postpone purchase. And so it was through the year. With even the festival season not being able to change the trend. Media growth projections dropped to the 7+ percent levels.


All of this meant that Advertising investments would continue to be challenged for Efficiency. The one word that decided the trends of media in India. So while TV and print continued to be the big boys albeit with low growth numbers, their role was questioned. Digital media became a core part of planning instead of being a media for the leftover budgets and grew at a burning pace of over 35+ percent. Out of Home encompassed the large billboards as well as the Malls, Multiplexes and market places thus growing at a rate of over 10 percent. Social media was no longer about digital alone but also about the various points of social connect like malls, multiplexes etc. And the key objective was to maximize earned media. Which meant that the effort was for every medium to connect with the other and work in tandem to deliver greater effectiveness and engagement.


In this evolving media space, let’s take a closer look at each medium.


Print – Will hold but would definitely face growth challenges. This could be the year when TV overtakes print in terms of ad volumes. It is now for media owners and advertisers to redefine the role for the medium and use it for its inherent strengths. Gimmicks aren’t what Print is for. It’s time it played a role as the ultimate Stature medium. As well as a medium that is with the times and is the fountainhead of details.


TV – Would continue to grow. However audience fragmentation is real and needs to be managed. Digitization will hopefully deliver more realistic information on the consumption trends of the medium and one could see clear niches being carved out. Niches that have their own individual appointments with audiences. Appointments that today have become extremely valuable in the efficiency paradigm.


OOH – Is no longer a single medium but is split into large format on the road OOH, Ambient OOH in malls, multiplexes and market zones and Retail space Out of Home. Another variant is that of Urban and Rural activation. A medium that enables true one to one engagement with consumers who are curious and focused. All of these will have their own unique capabilities and would probably see the highest rate of technology influx. The medium has come of age and it’s now time for advertisers and agencies to understand the capability of the medium and design communication accordingly.


Digital – There is a reason that I have mentioned this last amongst all media. And that is because this medium is ready to take on the role of being the backbone of all communication. Very often one gets to see data that clearly shows that the medium has a limited reach which may be true to an extent. However one must bear in mind that even the latest researches on the medium are dated considering the rapid growth the medium enjoys in being adopted. This medium again can be split into a number of areas like Digital display (static) Digital Video, Search (which can lead to display) and the most underused version which is Mobile.


Mobile – This is the one medium that provides the reach which is wider than any other medium available in the country spanning all of India across Urban and Rural geographies. It is now for the advertiser to get innovative and design communication depending on the capability of the device. And all of this has to be done while encouraging the consumer to opt in for communication. There are already very many cases of brads that have managed to engage across geographies using this medium and it’s time that all advertisers learnt from these pioneering initiatives.


At an overall level, all media will move from being categorized by the material form to the interaction form. So it will no longer be print, TV, Radio, Internet, OOH etc.


It could be categorized as Written, Visual and Engagement. This would mean that a TVC (Video) would play out on TV as well as Digital (Pre rolls etc) and OOH (Ambient spaces, Large format OOH etc). A static ad would be released in dailies, magazines, websites and close format ambient media. Audio would be played out on radio and internet and malls and so on. Furthermore, the ads in dailies and magazines would have QR codes or Layar codes built in so that with the use of mobile devices the static ad could lead to video. Similarly with OOH advertising. And all of these things are happening now. Not in the near future but now.


The die is now cast. Future directions have been defined and 2013 will only see all of the above growing. And digitization will give advertisers more realistic numbers to work with. TV and print will continue to be challenged. Digital will continue on its rampant growth path. Out of Home will become core to engagement plans. Digital will be available in ambient spaces thus merging Digital and Ambient. Brands will start thinking of Integrated Communication Plans rather than media plans. And media will become performance focused and more exciting every day. The good news is that shopping in the last few weeks has seen a significant upswing which could be read as a more upbeat consumer which would be a good point to start from for 2013.


And finally let’s not forget the Consumer who is now the Emperor. India’s youth is impatient and has no time for the old world order. They are moving and want to be seen with brands that are moving at their pace or leading them. They are continually bombarded with communication and don’t have the patience to remember every piece. It is the ones that engage with them regularly and innovatively which will be remembered and those are the brands which will emerge as winners.


Kartik Iyer is Managing Director, Carat. Carat, the world’s largest independent media communications specialist, is part of the Aegis Media Group. Carat is Campaign’s Media Agency of the year 2012 for India as well as South Asia. Other companies in the group include Vizeum, Posterscope the global OOH sector leader, Brandscope, Hyperspace (Retail), Ambient (Ambient Media), Carat Fresh Integrated (Activation), PSI (Airports), Doosra (Creative), Isobar, the global communications agency with digital at its heart and iProspect – Communicate 2, the global leader in search and performance marketing.


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