Kevin King, Global Practice Chair, Edelman Digital talks about the evolution of consumers online, the challenges faced by brands in communicating with the always-on audience, remarkable campaigns of 2014 and more…
What are the communication challenges faced by brands in the always-on digital age today?
The digital space is one in which brands are promoting themselves through the same channels that their customers are expressing their opinions and experiences in. Finding the balance between promoting your brand and
protecting its reputation in social channels is the biggest challenge. Poor customer service, for example, can make it hard to market in social media. This was never a concern with TV, print and other forms of traditional media. Marketers today need to have a larger overall view within their organization.
What are some examples/case studies of successful digital communication by brands according to you in 2014?
One of our global clients, HP ran the very successful ‘Bend the Rules’ campaign here in India. We were able to identify a very strong insight and back it with a successful communication strategy and creative execution.
Another one would be the Jaguar Luxury Tour. The campaign found the perfect synergy between online and off-line engagement, which, a lot of times, is the key; especially for a luxury brand here in India.
Or take for example Tata Capital’s Half Stories campaign that aimed to evoke online viewers to donate money after watching heart touching stories from around India, so as to complete them with happier endings.
What trends do you forecast for 2015 in digital that marketers and brands must watch out for in terms of consumer behavior?
Consumers and their needs are always evolving. In today’s connected generation it is very important for a brand to embrace the concept of being a Living Brand. The content a brand produces needs to be relevant to real world events to enable brands to break through the clutter that exists online.
We are living in the always-on digital age and brands need to embrace this in 2015.
How far behind is India as compared to other South Asian/Western countries in terms of digital adoption and what reasons do you attribute to this?
I don’t think India is far behind at all. As 4G and broadband becomes more prevalent people will start watching more on demand content in the web. I’ve found that this is when major changes start happening in marketing.
How should marketers in India approach their mobile communication strategy?
Mobile is a key platform, especially here in India. Brands have seen great success through IVR led mobile campaigns. Possibilities with feature phones need to be tapped into as well. A large percentage of the Indian population still use a basic feature phone that offers marketers a low cost medium to engage with a larger audience. Therefore, mobile has a huge potential that will only increase as technology evolves.
1. How has the role of a communication professional changed today?
Brands need to feel the pulse of the consumers who make up their online communities and in the process become more and more relevant to current trends and events. Just promoting a brand or service isn’t enough. The traditional agency planning process was designed for moment in time campaigns. Brands today need a revised planning process for an always-on world.
2. What is Edelman digital's growth strategy for India?
We’ve always tried to work closely with our clients in order to build an ‘evolve, promote & protect’ strategy. This is because today brands do not only need to promote a product or service but also need to evolve with the latest trends.
While most agencies look to tackle the ‘evolve and promote’ aspects, we at Edelman give great importance to the ‘protect’ model as well. With digital media offering consumers a stronger voice than they have ever had, it is important to protect the brand. To do this we need the right combination of people, process and product, something we has successfully done across the globe.