A rapidly growing digital media in India now wants to focus more on brand building in order to grow stronger and attract more advertisers. The fourth edition of IAMAI Conference, held in Mumbai on September 30, spoke on brand building versus performance – whether it was time to shift to brand building from performance-based advertisement.
The panelists in the session two of the event included Vikram Sakhuja, COO - South Asia, GroupM; Upen Roop Rai, Director, Times Internet; Kashyap Vadapalli, Director- Marketing and Operations, eBay India; and Krishna Prasad, Executive Producer, MSN India. The session was chaired by Neville Taraporewalla, CEO and Online Media Director, Publicitas Digital.
Beginning the discussion, Taraporewalla said, “There is a need to look out to the online creative, which has not received much attention. Why don’t we see many online branding in India?”
Vadapalli said, “Yes, I believe we can do brand building online. Brand building is a dilemma not for only the online media, but every other media as well. Decisions are taken on the basis of the product life cycle, industry maturity and consumer purchase involvement and point of consumption. eBay, however, looks at product life cycle differently.”
He further said, “You have to move beyond brands to features of your product. The focus should be on building awareness on basis of the industry maturity. What is required is a combination of brand building and performance.”
MSN India’s Prasad stated, “First of all, what you need to know is how and what your brand stands for. I believe it is a case of both brand building and performance that is required. You have to accommodate your brand along with your performance. So, how much do brand managers spend on producing and production of online advertisements? What we require is a qualified staff that understands online in brand building organisation. Unfortunately, we do not have the support for it. We need to create the likes of Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey even in the digital spectrum.”
Having a different take and a strong supporter of brand building, Upen Roop Rai said, “I am only for branding, why should we be accountable for what we are? We need to differentiate ourselves not by performance but by brand building.”
Vikram Sakhuja noted, “First and foremost you should start with the strength of the medium, secondly, stop lamenting about the Internet reach in India and instead focus on the number of people who are already using the Internet. What most people fail to understand is the power of the medium, and once you understand the power of your medium, the sky will be the limit. Start getting competitive and learn that whichever be the medium, digital can do a much better job. Unfortunately, what the brand marketers don’t understand is how this medium works.”
The floor was then left open for discussion with the delegates.