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Internet: only a lead-getter or a potential brand builder?

16-April-2004
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Internet: only a lead-getter or a potential brand builder?

While the measurability of Internet as a medium has led to much of its advertising being business or lead-based, its role as a brand builder has never been highlighted. To what extent do clients and media planners apply online ads to create brand imagery? This question was high on the minds of panelists at the Bangalore session of the exchange4media iZone Roundtable.

Even as he accepted the accountability of Internet as a medium, Abraham Mathew, President, CIOL, raised the question of whether the medium has had been restricted to a lead-getter or whether it held the potential to build brands. “Isn’t there any value for branding on the Internet?” he asked.

Rajesh Vimal, Director, M One, observed that the comfort level a consumer would share with a medium was very essential when thinking of brand building. “This happens with any new medium. It is only when a consumer is not over powered by the medium he starts interacting with brands. We have now started opening up the Internet medium,” he said. According to him, with more time being spent on Internet and more functionality being used, an average surfer looks at 150 pages per day – offering immense reach to brands.

Adding another perspective to the discussion, Vimal said that while on one hand, Internet would allow for businesses to be strategically built, clients needed to move beyond this aspect and explore the huge opportunity it would offer for brand building. “How do I get a brand and man its values through the interaction between the consumer and the content, is a big question that needs to be answered,” he said.

To this John Kuruvilla, Chief Revenue Officer and Head, Commercial, Air Deccan, responded that while other mediums like television had a proper body that monitored traffic and user profile, there was no such uniform record for Internet. “There is no sanctity of a portal’s audience. We have no guarantee that we are reaching the right audience. There is no all-industry rating on top three sites for us to go by,” he reasoned.

Stressing on the need for enhanced industry interaction, N Murlidharan, MD, Jobstreet.com, said that brands that had successfully promoted themselves on Internet should come forward and share success stories to encourage others to use the same route.

Serving as the session’s moderator, Mathew took the discussion to the next level with the question: “While the coming years will see an increase in brand building-centered ads on the Internet, would this in any way lower the accountability of the medium as a result?”

Vimal was quick in his response saying that while it was going to be a whole lot tougher to create a measure for online branding, accountability as such was not bound to dip. “It’s going to be even more challenging when the percentages of investments that is put into an interactive general awareness campaign is increased. We would have to engage in a number of online dipsticks and put in extra efforts to be measurable,” he added.

To find out more about the panelist’s views on the technological aspects of online advertising, continue watching this space.

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