Asian Paints, Citibank, Pepsi, Coke, Godrej, General Motors, Surf Excel, Sunsilk are amongst an increasingly large number of brands that are utilizing Internet for both tactical and strategic brand building initiatives.
Innovation, using innovative approaches to extend the equity of the brand on the net; Interaction i.e. inviting the browsers to interact on the site and Integration, which necessitates combining online and offline activities was the key message of the recent SIFY organised seminar in New Delhi on the power of the Internet to win in the future. The seminar had presentations by Mr. Tapan Pal, president and CEO, Zenith Media India and Mr. Vivek Bali, President – Portals, Sify.
Recently exchange4media had also reported the results of the first study to analyze the combined effects of online, print and TV advertising in a single product campaign, found the online component significantly increased the campaign's measurable brand awareness impact. The study -- a six-week analysis of Unilever’s mixed-media campaign for Dove Nutrium bar soap -- concluded that spending 15% of the campaign's TV/print/online budget on the Web resulted in a 24% lift in branding impact.
The study was conducted in October and November by Marketing Evolution, El Dorado Hills, Calif., in conjunction with Microsoft's MSN, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Advertising Research Foundation, Dynamic Logic, New York, and Dove's agency, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York. During the project, researchers polled 13,000 randomly selected users of MSN.com. The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the MSN® network of Internet services, and researcher Rex Briggs announced the results of groundbreaking new research that validates the importance of online advertising.
At the seminar Mr. Pal’s presentation focused on the Internet as a Medium being extremely dynamic and powerful with immense possibilities in store for the marketer. He pointed out with apt examples the power of the medium as experienced by many marketers in India and abroad who have been rewarded with tremendous success at economical costs.
Mr. Vivek Bali, president – Portals, SIFY made an extensive presentation and emphasized on the need for marketers to reach out to the cream of the population. He said, “As marketers we strive to segment our consumers on a combination of demographic and psychographic parameters and the Internet allows us to do this brilliantly. Majority of the Internet users are what can be called innovators and Early Adopters and bulk of our current, traditional media mix tends to miss out on these two vital segments. The Internet is an effective medium to reach out to these audiences”.
Participants at the SIFY seminar like Mr. L. V. Sastry, DGM-Marketing & Program Manager -Docuworld said " The learning’s from today's seminar were quite relevant and exposure to how other brands have utilised Internet was interesting".
Commenting on Internet as a medium, Mr. Naresh Gupta, Account Planning Director, Grey Worldwide said “ Usage of Internet as a medium is growing in India and I recollect the way General Motors recently used it for initiating test drive of its new versions” Mr. Gupta further added “ Internet speaks to a niche audience in a very focussed way but one problem area is evaluating the audience”
Mr. C.V.L. Srinivas, COO, North & South, Madison Communications, which advises brands like Coke and Godrej and who have utilized Internet as a medium says “ Internet helps you go beyond conventional media and is a two way communication between the consumer and the brand and that according to me is a very strong point for Internet as a medium”. He further adds that “Two categories which could utilize the Internet in a big manner are financial services, where you can sample the product and automobiles, where a prospective buyer can check out the interiors without even physically inspecting the car”. Mr. Srinivas has a divergence of viewpoint in terms of evaluating the audience as echoed by Mr. Gupta and says“ Internet can capture the consumer data which is extremely valuable for marketers and media planners in terms of evaluating the audience and response”
With ‘interaction’ with the consumer, ‘innovation’ with the brand and ‘integration’ of online and offline service and some leading brands in India utilizing Internet, it seems to be increasingly becoming a part of the consideration set of the media plan for most marketers.