We’re seeing a fragmentation of attention: Venkatesh Kini

13 Mar,2015


By Shruti Pushkarna


The India Chapter of International Advertising Association hosted its annual review of marketing, media and advertising at the Westin in Gurgaon on March 12. The annual review, titled IAA Retrospect and Prospects, was presented by Venkatesh Kini, President, India & South West Asia, Coca-Cola.


Mr Kini started his presentation by citing the major shifts occurring in the world of media, advertising and marketing today. Through a series of audio video presentations, he pointed out the change in consumer trends and how Coca-Cola has tried to stay relevant for the past 128 years. “The secret formula of Coke is staying relevant to consumers and consumer trends,”  Mr Kini said.


One fundamental shift according to Mr Kini that is occurring today is fragmentation of attention. He said: “There’s a shift from many people watching one screen to one person watching many screens. We don’t just see fragmentation of media but a fragmentation of attention. This fragmentation of attention and shortening of attention span is the biggest seismic shift that you are going to see in the industry going forward.”


Among other changing trends taking place today, Mr Kini pointed out, the shift from one-way communication to conversations that take place on social media and other digital platforms. He said: “The concept of a target audience is gone. There is no one target but a network of people. And the best way to get your message out there is to get people talking about it.” For the message to be share worthy, it needs to be provocative, he added. He shared the example of a campaign by Coke on a sensitive issue of India and Pakistan, where they put vending machines in Delhi and Lahore, and both vending machines had cameras that could display and communicate what’s happening on the other side. He shared that Coke did not spend a rupee to advertise the campaign and just put it on YouTube where people shared it. The reason, he said, it got shared was because it was a nice story and it was provocative.


Another change Mr Kini talked about is what brands have to stand for, today. “When brands first started 150 years ago, all it stood for was a trademark that promised you a better product. Then as brands evolved, they said this brand doesn’t just make a better product, it promises a better you. And for a long time it was about how brands create emotional benefits and personal benefits. But 21st century branding has become about a better world.” Mr Kini explained brands that can connect to a higher purpose connect to consumers far more effectively, because consumers are more socially aware and conscious today.


Marketers and advertisers need to take note of the changing trends in consumer behaviour and consumer experience in order to communicate and get their ideas across, he said, adding: “The world is becoming complex and we’ve to think of ourselves as part of a network and through collaboration, we can sell anything we want or communicate any idea we want.”


The event opened with a welcome address by Srinivasan K Swamy, President, IAA India Chapter who introduced the subject and the key speaker for the evening. He also listed out some of the upcoming events planned by IAA for this year.


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