Waggener Edstrom’s report throws up interesting insights on content relevance

04 Sep,2015

By A Correspondent


Waggener Edstrom India, a independent integrated communications agency recently released a research report on changing patterns of digital engagement in India and its impact on brand advocacy: Content Matters: The Impact of Brand Storytelling Online in 2015”. The report reveals that 73 percent of Indians recommend brands with a greater digital footprint and higher levels of online social engagement. It also found that inspirational, funny and entertaining content are most likely to be shared on social platforms followed by personal, news and educational content.


The report explored the correlation between devices and social media platforms relating to purchase behavior and how those dynamics vary across nine industries: Beauty, Consumer Electronics, Finance & Banking, Food & Beverage, Healthcare, Mobile Devices & Tablets, Personal Care, Restaurants & Dining, and Travel & Tourism.


Key findings of the report include the following:

  • The rise of smart phones: Smart phones at 40 percent are a very close second to personal computers at 52 percent as the device of choice to access information related to purchase decisions. Tablets are yet to catch on amongst Indians as the device of choice. However, 91 percent have access to computers whilst 85 percent have access to smart phones.
  • Content is king: 9 out of 10 Indian respondents are likely to follow a brand on social media where 29 percent seek general news about the brand while 27 percent want to receive discounts and promotional offers and 23% are in search of better customer service.
  • Facebook and WhatsApp lead the way: 29 percent of consumers polled indicated that Facebook remains the top social media platform preferred by Indians for sharing content, followed closely by WhatsApp (26 percent)
  • Consumption habits: Although 16% use search engines and another 16% are fans of word of mouth, whilst 14 percent use company websites, review sites, social media, traditional media, forums, blogs, IM and online news are all popular too. When it comes to recommending brands to friends and family, 73 percent of digital savvy respondents are willing to recommend brands that they have a high level of engagement with online.


The report was released at an industry round table comprising marketers, communications leaders and business heads on ‘How can brands best digitally engage with the consumer for maximum advocacy?’ moderated by Madhuri Sen, Managing Director, Waggener Edstrom Communications.


Setting the stage for the discussion, Sen said: “Effective brand storytelling requires an ecosystem of media with both online and offline touch points. However, the dominant platforms shift according to industry and geography. Organizations are now recognizing the need to move away from what was a higher channel focus to a content focus. It is important to figure out the content and then the channel as opposed to having the media plan in place and then deciding the content.”


Addressing the panel, Carolyn Camoens, Regional VP, Waggener Edstrom Communications, APAC said: “I’m not going to share what I had for lunch today. But if there is something funny or inspirational I am sharing that. So it still goes back to the nature of that content that is being shared and how much value it has for the Indian consumer. I know pictures of my half-done kitchen are not interesting to you, but me saying ‘my home coming together’ is sharing an emotional experience with your network. That’s what brands need to connect to.”


Siddharth Sankhe, India Lead, Insights & Analytics, Waggener Edstrom Communications said: “Things are changing at a good pace with regards to inclusion of smartphones in the daily lives of people. Brands need to acknowledge this and create mobile ready content which is easy to consume and share. Computers still stand as an important device for a lot of other functionalities, but smartphones are replacing computers as the primary device of information consumption”


Adding to the shift in smartphone related behavior, Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South Africa Tourism, shared a travel based perspective – “If I am standing on the top of Table Mountain which overlooks Cape Town, and I can be on Facebook in 30 seconds – I’m there. You got a much bigger bragging factor when you say – this is where I am, wish you were here.”


Nandini Goswami, Director, Corporate Communications, Kellogg, India, presented the flipside to this mobile and digital wave in India, saying: “While social media has its many positives, there is a negative side to this as well. With the rise in smartphones usage, dissatisfied customers have an additional channel to vent on. This means that they don’t give the organization enough time to respond as the issue has already been tweeted, retweeted and shared on Facebook. Each industry will be affected differently by this.”


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