Brands make a Shubh Aarambh with Twitter

25 Sep,2013


By Shephali Bhatt


16,000 retweets, 18,000 Facebook likes and 5,000 Facebook shares were registered within the first hour of the Oreo tweet during the Super Bowl XLVII blackout. ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ said the Twitpic (a tool for people to post pictures on Twitter) and it was followed by analysts tracking Mondelez’s rising interest in digital, predicting a love-story brewing between the brand and the medium. The two announced their marriage plans less than two weeks ago. The salient facet of their pre-nuptial agreement being that Twitter will have dedicated teams working for Mondelez in India, Brazil, the UK and the US. As soon as the knot is tied, Mondelez will be able to leverage Twitter’s real-time analytics capabilities.


Mondelez, in return, is bound to have made an ad spending commitment to Twitter which only aids the latter in building its share and profile in the market before it goes public and launches its IPO in early 2014.


This pact that brings the bird closer to the delicious confectionary world has been facilitated by Mondelez’s global media buying agency Starcom MediaVest. According to eMarketer, Twitter is set to capture $580 million of ad spend this year which is double the amount they garnered last year. This move will only help Twitter surge upwards as far as that prediction is concerned. The partnership will also allow Mondelez to avail of a preferential media rate, an access to brand boot camps (training on brand building strategy), research and a first-look access to Twitter’s beta products.


Mondelez is currently working with Twitter’s global team to chalk out the details of the resource embedding. Without disclosing any details on the magnitude of the deal, Bonin Bough, VP – global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International, said that the development reflects a commitment to dedicate 10% of global marketing spend on mobile. Boosting impulse sales has been the snacking brand’s top priority starting 2013. In May, Mondelez signed a mobile-only deal with Google to develop m-commerce tools to give a fillip to in-store purchase of brands such as Cadbury and Oreo. This was followed by hiring AKQA, We Are Social, Vice and Proximity to expand the digital imprint of Trident and Belvita in international markets. Closer home, Mondelez India works with multiple digital partners like Madison Digital, Grey Digital, Pinstorm and Interface communications.


While the zeitgeist terms this as “exciting news”, it’s critical to understand how these Twitter teams will add value to a brand that’s already being handled by a plethora of digital and social media agencies across countries and continents.


To begin with, the deal should help Mondelez get earlier access to what’s likely to trend so that it is better equipped at reacting to news. It’s a step towards making timely tweets the norm and not the exception. The brand will then be in a position to convert trend based insights into brand relevant messages. Venkat Mallik, president at Tribal DDB and RAPP India, equates it with Amul’s outdoor strategy of creating topical ads. Only that Mondelez will be playing it on Twitter which will have a faster turnaround and a global impact.


Moreover, these Twitter teams will definitely have a better understanding of their own tools versus any specialist. “Their offering will come with far more evolved features than we’d know of, simply because we are trying to understand the medium while they are its creators,” states Manan Mehta, Sr VP and head of business in India for Razorfish, a digital marketing agency from Publicis Groupe. Mehta also believes this move makes logical sense for the Indian market in particular. “We lost the desktop race, this is our chance to win the mobile race,” he points out.


So, a meeting of minds, and a consolidation of specialists to bring in fine-tuned insights on how to make the existing tools work; but how does it change the lives of the existing digital agencies of Mondelez? Says Sindhuja Rai, AVP – media at Cadbury India, “The Twitter teams will work with us directly and collaborate with our digital agencies at the same time. Since we have multiple partners, it makes sense for us to drive this centrally from within Mondelez.” For all those wondering whether the existing digital partners might lose their clout in Twitter’s presence, there’s nothing much to worry about just yet. One, because Twitter is a medium and not an agency. Generating content is not its forte, putting the content in the right context is. So, agencies that generate great (and now Twitter-specific) content, will have an increasingly relevant role. Two, Twitter is just one of the many aspects that comprise the vastness of social and digital media. So, specialist agencies will continue to have a bigger role.


This might just serve as a paradigm for the new collaborative model, a tripartite model involving the agency, the client and the platform. And if you ask Vivek Bhargava, CEO of iProspect Communicate2, this is just Twitter catching up to Google and Facebook. “Google has been doing this for 10 years now. I don’t think Amazon has its own agency, Google has dedicated teams that work for them,” he mentions. Bhargava feels that the current social media landscape is not built to meet the needs of large enterprises. Perhaps that explains why only a brand increasing their digital expenditure becomes news; because it’s still a rarity. A move like this translates into a big opportunity for Twitter to provide customised application and solution based offering to suit the needs of large enterprises.


With all the buzz around real time engagement initiatives, Cadbury India has tasted a bit of success with hashtags like #ShubhAarambh during IPL and with #NotSoSweet for Bournville resulting in high engagement and buzz around the brands. “The idea is to build on this success further by leveraging Twitter’s scale and analytical capabilities,” avers Rai. The pundits are predicting this marriage would be a success. Are there more such on the cards? Well, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo is tightlipped for now. But we can always ask: how many of you brands are up for an inhouse Tweetdeck?


Source:The Economic Times

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