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Brands can no longer have guarded conversations with users: Santosh Desai

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Brands can no longer have guarded conversations with users: Santosh Desai

Almost two billions posts on Facebook every day, millions of video views on YouTube every minute and Twitter being fed with tweets every second – the world today is on social media.
And brands are where this world is. So, when it has become clear that, like it or not, brands today have to connect and engage with users on social media, the next point of discussion is what do brands need to do to become the brands of future.

Deciphering this was Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands as the key note speaker at the second edition of India Social Summit 2012.

Digital is democratic, collaborative, connected and simultaneous, pointed out Desai while making it very clear that the brands of the future will have to accept the fact that the power to influence a consumer has shifted from brand managers to brand users. The centralised grip of power structures that made brands have a guarded conversation with the user needs to be decentralised. Brands need to take cognisance that consumers today have their own say and they will listen to only what they want to listen and not what brands want them to listen.

Taking example of river Ganga, Desai added that the brands today have to become like rivers not lakes – ever flowing, changing the course as per evolving consumers and adapting to changing needs of its users. “Brands are no more an artificial construction; consumers today want to have real-time conversation with the brands,” he said.

Being managed by a brand versus managing a brand and brand dissolution versus brand building were two other factors that he asked marketers to keep in mind to prepare for the future. “A brand has its own identity today and the future would belong to the companies who are managed by a brand rather than managing the brand. What needs to be done to maintain the brand story and take the brand forward is a question marketers will have to constantly ask,” he shared.

Leaving a message for the brand managers on how they should look at investment in the digital media, Desai said, “It takes something to prepare for the future, to read the future. We are too early in this game and we will have to play it before we think about the results. To reap rewards from what is uncertain, you have to take risks. The future of this medium will be bright only if we look at it as an investment and not as a cost.”

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