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e4m India Social Media Summit: ‘The investment lies in the power of listening’

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e4m India Social Media Summit: ‘The investment lies in the power of listening’

The third and final panel at the India Social Media Summit 2009, held in held in Mumbai on March 27, attempted to find out ‘Have media planners understood and invested enough in social media?’

The case study for this session was presented by Sunil R Nair, CEO and Founder, Networks Pvt Ltd. Panelists at the session included Beerud Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, Webaroo Technology India Pvt Ltd; Leroy Alvares, Country Head, Tribal DDB India; and Sandip Tarkas, President - Customer Strategy, Future Group. The session was moderated by Krishna Kumar, Editor Dare magazine.

Presenting his case study, Nair said, “It is all about being a human and being able to chatter constantly, having random thoughts and the ability to commercialise those random thoughts.” He citied the example of Snickers, which is centred on a make-believe language called ‘Snacklish’, in fact, Snickers has even asked Facebook users to create a language called ‘Snacklish’.

He also spoke about how US President Barack Obama’s campaign took the Internet to a new level and changed it for good. In India, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah received around 27 million views on YouTube and over 100,000 comments on his speech in the Parliament during the 2008 Trust Vote, thus making him the best Indian political brand on the Net.

Beerud Sheth commenced the session discussion by saying, “Mobile is the medium that will drive social media and the challenge here is for this media to achieve all the objectives. Social media eventually is all about engagement.”

Leroy Alvares pointed out, “I don’t think, it is the media planners’ role alone. The key investment here is in the power to listen. The simple investment is to listen right before acting. In today’s time, you have to be original, impactful and relevant if you want a good ROI.”

“A conversation has to be a dialogue that is two ways. It needs to be a strategic business and on a long term basis. If you want to get into this media and reap its benefits, you must look at it as a strategic media not as a campaign, because then it will not work,” he advised.

Sandip Tarkas observed, “We use mobile actively as that is one way we can get our consumers back and get our traction. The ad spend on social media is still less, however, the efforts that a planner has to put in are much higher. Earlier, ad agencies used to be the aggregators, but today, it is the clients who are the aggregators.”

Dare magazine’s Krishna Kumar concluded the discussion saying that social media in India was still evolving and that there was a lot more in store for everyone.

The valedictory session was addressed by Ashwani Singla, CEO, Genesis Burson-Marsteller, who noted, “The paradigms are radically different today. Research shows that people are looking for information from a convenience standpoint and participation in that conversation is adding value to that conversation. We have to also understand that the medium is not at all meant to be intrusive, instead it must be participative, therefore, there is a need to form conversations.”

He added, “Transparency and credibility is what creates trust, and this medium is not about reach or frequency, but it is all about trust. It allows to you have an open and engaging conversation. The biggest opportunity about Web 2.0 is about your ability to earn trust.”


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