“If you aren’t speaking in a language that consumers understand, then you don’t have a starting point with that consumer,” says Aditya Save, CMO at People Interactive, which is best known for its brand Shaadi.com.
In conversation with exchange4media, he talks about the company’s plans to leverage the digital medium to reach out to a wider audience base.
Can you give us a glimpse of your strategy when it comes to using digital vernacular medium to target audiences across geographies?
Digital content consumption has galloped in India. The two big drivers of this have been penetration of affordable smartphones deeper into Indian cities and towns and availability of content in ‘my language’. The latter brings a sense of familiarity in a new media vehicle (the phone) and hence is crucial to future growth.
Our strategy remains relevance and resonance. We need to ensure that our offerings are relevant to today’s audiences and cater to their world view.
Similarly, given the category’s context, they are able to resonate with our proposition in their own local world-views.
If you aren’t speaking (literally) in a language that consumers understand, then you don’t have a starting point with that consumer.
How important has this medium become as part of your activities?
In US and China, web usage moved from desktop to mobile. In India, the mobile is probably the only touch point for the web, for that user. Hence, we need to understand this user’s media consumption habits in the offline world, because a lot of them will be mirrored in online usage. For example, if a user is habituated to reading a Hindi morning newspaper every morning, it is very likely that he will seek out Hindi news content online as well.
Hence, understanding the user’s journey across media touch points is crucial.
Going forward, what is the roadmap with regards to digital vernacular content?
I would break this roadmap into three key tasks. The primary goal for a marketer is one of scaling the brand’s reach. Vernacular content has the ability to provide incremental audiences – a set of users previously unavailable to marketers. The second task is to address concerns and perceptions regarding category adoption. This needs to be addressed in their language. The third would be to improve on our ability to identify and capture category intent using partnerships with vernacular content creators in the digital space.
What are they typical obstacles that one faces when partnering with or creating regional content online?
India is a diverse country. Though most of us speak 3 languages, it is almost impossible to be able to translate the brand’s proposition into multiple Indian languages, without some bit of compromise.
For example, how do you convert the lyrics of the brand’s anthem from (say) Hindi and not lose out on either the meaning or the rhyme or the texture of the communication, when you translate it to multiple languages.
Most brands struggle in this respect since there isn’t enough in-house expertise to recreate the same promise for varied audiences. Content creators are used to such nuances and can cater to that particular geography and language. I see this as an area for partnerships to flourish.
How do you leverage digital properties and how different is the strategy as compared to English content?
English content consumption over a long period of time influences the consumer’s point of view. It leads to a somewhat common/similar way of perceiving categories and consuming services. This allows for a common platform that the brand can build on.
With digital vernacular platforms, each part of the country gets shaped differently. Hence, customising the brand’s approach to that regional market is the first step to success.