Creating stories digitally for marketing success

22 Feb,2013


By A Correspondent


Digital media is becoming an integral part of brand communication and journey. The content, connected consumers and convergence is only fuelling the digital marketing. From Coca-cola to SMEs in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk are exploring this medium to connect with consumers. There is close to 72 hours of content that is generated every minute of every day from around the world. Most of it is being consumed in real-time. Digital is growing exponentially, and brands not taking advantage of it might just face tougher time engaging with the consumers.


Speaking at ad:tech 2013, the premier digital marketing event held in Gurgaon every year, Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities, The Coca Cola Company, stressed on the need to create more stories that are share-worthy instead of typical advertisements. Sharing the digital campaigns by Coca-Cola, she deliberated on the concept of Liquid & Linked Marketing. “There are eight learnings so far on this journey,” she shared, “be share-worthy by creating content that is interesting and compelling; embrace the new salesforce which are consumers willing to carry brand messages ahead; listen and then engage; test, fail, learn, and then scale; speed trumps perfection so be ‘flawsome’; disrupt yourself or be disrupted by the market; do not accept the status quo; and, play well on a behavioural level to manage increasingly complicated campaigns.”


Ms Clark was of the view that storytelling could happen on digital, or any other traditional media, “It is only storytelling of different durations,” she maintained. Focusing on the three areas of stories, spread and value, she cited the example of the ‘Hug Machine’ set up by Coca Cola in National University of Singapore, which would offer a free can of Coke if you hugged the machine. Even though the campaign ran only inSingapore, it became viral globally and generated over 10 million views in theUSitself.


Katharyn White, Vice President Marketing, IBM Global Business Services delved into how the changing consumer is also resulting in the changing role of marketers. She emphasized on the three imperatives for marketing professionals: understanding the customer as an individual; creating a system of engagement that maximizes value creation at every touch; and designing culture and brand so that they are authentically one.


Technology, according to marketers is increasingly becoming an enabler that is helping brands create emotionally connected brand stories. Sanjay Tripathy, Executive VP – Marketing, Product and Direct Sales Channels, HDFC Life, spoke about how his company thought of engaging consumers by creating themes around insurance and thus, creating conversations. Nikhil Rungta, Country Marketing Head, Google India, cautioned, “Technology can be intimidating,” but that did not stop Google from creating conversations around real people and real stories, such as the Thanjavur painting. Technology helped the brand marketers to not only create stories but make conversations out of it.


Mr Rungta also shared how AT&T created a series of 5 webisodes to connect with the consumer, instead of TVCs. The power of videos also enable to consumers to share it, co-create it, become a part of it and, in the long run evangelize the brand.


Rajesh Chakrabarti, CMO and Chief Innovation Officer, Reliance Commercial Finance and Reliance Home Finance said that while internet penetration and usage is growing multi-fold inIndia, “it is still difficult to sell insurance online.” Reliance used the ground (offline) to get the customers to the web and today, the number of policies sold online has grown from 10,000 to 70,000 policies every month even though he emphasised that it is not easy to engage consumer on the internet. To attract the consumers to online insurance, Reliance kept the interface simple and managed to increase its online revenues by 83 percent in the Commercial Finance and Home Finance domain.


K Ramakrishnan, President – Marketing, Cafe Coffee Day, stated that offline and online channels are merging. “The brands need to communicate to consumer has changed to ‘how to make consumers communicate on brands’ behalf’. With creating right conversations, consumers do indulge in brand evangelism. Being open to social media also implies that you will get negative feedback. It is an opportunity for brands in this case to look for opportunity here, brand should be able to listen and reward people for it. There needs to be courage to take risks.” Sanjeev Kapur, CMO, Citi (India) talked about delivering customized experiences to consumer according to their preferences.


Harneet Singh, VP-Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India shared how Domino’s replicated its offline 30-minute delivery challenge online. And today, “eCommerce contributes 15 percent of delivery sales. With native Apps, we have introduced advanced analytical re-marketing strategy. The mobile ordering app has results in 10 percent of our total digital sales.”


Marketers are also sure that going forward, digital marketing investments will significantly outpace the traditional media investments.


With the changing media matrix, the role of media agencies is also changing. Speaking to MxM India, Mr Chakrabarti said that with digital becoming an integral part of any marketers’ plan, the need arises for specialised agencies which can provide specific solutions and plans. Ruth Stubbs, CEO, iProspect and Digital Media – Aegis Media APAC said, “Digital technology is creating more media. With more and more business being done online, we need to reinvent the roles we play. It is important to know how we can reset our approach to reinvent the way brands are built in this 24×7 connected environment. It becomes our massive responsibility to guide the brands through the massive digital chaos.”


Digital chaos it may be, but it sure is throwing up some great stories and conversations!


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