Carat India conducted a presentation of sorts, in order to inform onlookers about new and effective channels of communication, mashed with an overview of the kind of media complexities that could arise in the digital age. Charles Berley Jenarious (Group CEO, Carat India) reaffirmed the basic philosophy behind brand Carat, by stating, “It is the combination of the right kind of assets that makes Carat unique. It has been our commitment, to ensure that Carat realises its full potential in this country, and we are working steadily towards the same. Carat as a brand, needed re-energising, and we have brought in Carat sphere tools, in order to ensure that the best practice is meted out from the world’s largest media network, within India.”
In the session of new and effective channels of communication, Kim Walker, COO, Asia Pacific stated, “All the channels in the present day have a purpose to serve. Yet, media is becoming more complex by the day, with increasing fragmentation of audiences and clutter. Media also has the mandate to transform into something that’s more interactive. If that’s not all, statistics indicate that around the year 2007, more than 50% of all media consumed across the world will be digital in nature.”
Walker adds, “In India, the situation will be slightly trickier. In most countries, the average viewership is around four hours a day whereas in India, it amounts to two hours. With an analogue of around 60 channels, we already find it a challenge to reach consumers. Think how difficult the job would be, in the digital age. The answer to a large extent lies in specialist tools that cut through the wastage and reach consumers at the right time.”
According to Walker, there are some basic steps towards surviving new media and its onslaught. “The answer lies in being creative with existing media channels and yet, staying open to change. Planners must explore new media possibilities. Also, the first mover advantage could give an agency the cutting edge, when it comes to new age media.”
He enunciates the extent of new media that’s being used around the world by citing an instance, where subways were being used to provide an optical illusion, thereby enforcing the brand message. Air cannons, in turn, could waft a certain smell and sensation for the desired target audience. Pinpoint sized chips within products could also send vital information about consumers and the use of the product, to retailers or manufacturers.
“Everything in the new age is about accountability. If it’s not measurable, it’s not in the plan,” he states.
PV Narayanamoorthy, Regional Director- Strategic Resources, Carat Asia Pacific, started off by enumerating the key concerns of marketers. The concerns go as follows- how do we establish a powerful position for our brand? Which consumer segments are most critical to the company’s business? What is the return on investment from each component of the communication programme? How do we judge that advertising is the best solution, as opposed to PR, trade and promotions?
He said, “In large part, the answer to all these questions lie in the tools employed. Simply put, a tool is a piece of software, which disciplines the entire process of buying and selling. Having said that, it must also be said that no tool can possibly think out of the box, it is always the human being who employs the tool, that has the capacity to do so.”
Which are the areas wherein tools come in handy? Narayanamoorthy asserts, “Software helps, mainly because traditional media is giving way to consumer touch points. Mono- media planning has given way to multi-media optimisation and stable static choices have made way for convergence. With steady consumer evolution and segmentation and a rapid leap of technology, tools are in fact the saving grace.”
Some vital tools, in Carat’s custody were then revealed. Tracer, for instance, is a custom-made visualisation tool in Carat’s custody, which allows planners to chart and compare different media in addition to marking data. The Scheduler is an annual campaign optimiser, which addresses questions such as, why a planner ought to position a spot or an insertion on a particular day? The Allocator tool allots the budget across brands, geographics, target groups and media vehicles. It can be operated manually or through a user plan (weighted averages.) Carisma is a scheduler experience database; a web hosted one, which contains every single scheduler model. Fortuna, which works with QRPs (Quality Rating Points) helps in loyalty mapping.
The tools that are currently being developed by Carat India, include Carat Report (which is a post buy tool based on central data warehousing), Combat (neutral network tool to assess the competition ‘s onslaught) and Assessor (a tool that studies efficiency of each channel and vehicle of the communication plan.)