BTL Baatein: Gulbahar Taurani, Philips India… Powered by VISCOMM

16 Jul,2015

Earlier this month (July 2015), Philips India introduced Ranveer Brar, who represents Indian food across the globe, as the first ever brand ambassador for its ‘Kitchen Appliances’ business. The brand is one that believes in conducting numerous below-the-line activations as part of its marketing campaigns.  In an interview with Dyanne Coelho for MxMIndia,  Gulbahar Taurani, Director Marketing & Business Head, Domestic Appliances, Philips India, tells us the importance of BTL in the consumer goods space and why the experience of a product creates a better connect with the audience than a mere advertisement.



What is the importance of BTL in the consumer goods space?

If you look at any type of advertisement, the purpose is to communicate to the consumer what is in the offering. Now if you look at below-the-line advertising in consumer goods, the consumer goods space is one wherein consumers need to have a certain experience of the product, because it’s very difficult to visualise the technicalities of the product, only by listening to the benefits, or reading them out. That is why the importance of BTL is humungous in consumer goods, because it happens where the consumer is taking the final decision, and that is where BTL will help you give that experience to people. For example, our colleagues are doing dry demos. Our consumers who are entering the shop floor can decide on our product and we give them that experience of how it works, in a very realistic scenario, and help them to take the right decision. So BTL becomes very important for the brand because that is where the actual experience is.


Are there any specific products at Philips for which you only use BT?

No, that’s not the case. Both ATL and BTL are important. BTL is very important for creating that experience. However, ATL is also important from the imagery point of view. It is not like we do specific activations for specific categories, it is all about what we want to achieve. So if we want to build up the imagery in the viewers mind, then we use ATL as a tool, and if we give that experience through BTL, it helps as well. Of course BTL is very important for newer categories, wherein people have very limited knowledge.


Can you give a broad idea of your spends pie of ATL v/s BTL?

It varies from year to year depending on what is our strategy for that year. But on a very typical basis it’s around 60-40. That is 60 percent ATL and 40 percent BTL.


Can you also specify the range of activities that you undertake as part of the below-the-line advertising and promotion?

We do a lot of branded activities. So we send our branded salespersons to various stores so that they can demonstrate our product better. We do a lot of dry and wet demos as I said, we do a lot of point-of-sales material, we have also started with a few innovative things this year, like we did road shows, flash mobs, etc to create more and more awareness among the consumers.


Do you prefer to do this through BTL agencies directly or via your existing creative/media agency?

We do it through our specialised creative BTL agency, because it requires a little different skillset when it comes to BTL activities. However, the creative part we leave it to the brand, and our agencies that do the creative bit of it, but when it comes to the execution of it, it is always a specialised BTL agency.


In terms of generating results especially from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sureshot avenue than ATL?

Well it’s difficult to say. Of course, when it comes to BTL, there is direct contact with the consumers. Hence you have the proof point as far as the conversions are concerned and it is easy to measure BTL activities. So it always shows up technical results and points, however, when it comes to imagery as I said, and scale, ATL is equally important. So it will be unfair to say BTL is getting more results. BTL in the coming years has become more and more importantto create that experience for the consumer.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign?

It again depends on the category and what we want to do. In certain categories even the number of people contacted can be a measure of success. Because if it’s a new category, a new concept and you just want to create the awareness, then if you reach a certain number of contacts, then even that could be a success parameter. However for certain categories, we lay down specific targets and numbers of the number of people contacted and the conversions out of that. If you look at only sales, then a lot of BTL activities would be limited to shopfloor activations only. If you look at street plays, they will not deliver any sales for me, but it is about what is the type of awareness that has been created, how many people were able to witness what we wanted to communicate. That’s why BTL has evolved. Earlier, BTL was directly related to sales, now it is much more than that.


There are many organisations that often do new launches almost entirely on BTL-aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your view on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?

I think for consumer goods, this has been true for quite some time. You will see many brands have introduced categories only through BTL activities, because when you have a very focused market approach and you have some of the markets in your mind, you can always take BTL as your only vehicle to newer categories and products, in a very focused, limited and mostly experiential way. That’s where BTL helps, and that is very important in the consumer goods space and not only today, but in the past as well, I have seen many brands use only BTL as a vehicle to launch their categories, and they have been successful doing that. I think it’s about the task that you have at hand. I would say yes BTL has that chance, when you have a focused market approach, but when it comes to scale and imagery ATL is required because that first gives you a bigger and better reach, and it also creates an imagery in the minds of the consumers. That’s where ATL is important. BTL, depending on the job at hand, can standalone deliver the category launches and all, but it all depends on what you want to achieve. For example, when we wanted to market the air fryer only in five metros, we used the BTL vehicle, we went through activations, created the buzz, created that experience and contacted consumers. When we thought we need to scale up and reach more consumers, that’s when we used ATL.


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