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Atul Hegde

Chief Executive Officer | 24 Jun 2013

If a brand wants to moderate a conversation online, then I think the brand shouldn’t be in social media. It is essential for digital agencies to educate marketers about this phenomenon. As long as brands are clear about what they want to convey through their communities, I think the brand will create impressive impressions in the minds of its online community members. It is necessary that a brand withstands what its online community members come forward to say. Brands have to be ready to listen to what its community members want.

In a career spanning 17 years, Atul Hegde has had highly successful stints at Euro RSCG and Vyas Giannetti Creative. His passion for treading the path less travelled has now brought him to Ignitee and the digital domain.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Hedge speaks at length about the changing digital ecosystem, social media marketing, online content management and much more...

Q. How has the marketers’ demand from digital changed in the recent years?

According to me, the change began to happen almost three years back. The focus then was to educate the marketers about the potential of this medium. It was essential then to bring these brand owners into confidence. Today, the focus has changed and advertisers are keen to explore the medium. Though a brand’s digital marketing investments are still low as compared to the traditional media investments, today brands want to be out there in the digital space.

Q. How is social media gaining importance in a marketer’s communication plans?

Today, digital is the way of communication. With social media platforms coming forward to attract brands with various marketing options, the game has changed. Social media has actually become a catalyst to reach out to the actual target audiences of a brand. Brands choose social media to built online communities. Now that most of them have understood the power of these communities, brands are looking forward to create conversations that are engaging. Today, brands are not worried about the size of their social media community, but are looking at creating vibrancy all the time. Moreover, brands are also gearing up to invest on content for these platforms.

Q. What are the key things that brands should keep in mind to build a healthy social conversation?

If a brand wants to moderate a conversation online, then I think the brand shouldn’t be in social media. It is essential for digital agencies to educate marketers about this phenomenon. As long as brands are clear about what they want to convey through their communities, I think the brand will create impressive impressions in the minds of its online community members. It is necessary that a brand withstands what its online community members come forward to say. Brands have to be ready to listen to what its community members want.

Brands should understand its passion points and thereby, chose a platform that is appropriate for its brand communication. Conversations with this will automatically shape up. Brands’ communication will also get more to the point and conversations will thereby get streamlined.

Q. How do you think the Indian digital ecosystem will shape up in the coming years?

Content will change the game. With increase in video consumption and increasing usage of multiple screens, brands cannot moderate on its content strategy on digital platforms. Large brands are already on this medium. The challenge will now be to stand out in the clutter, which will also happen when brands start doing some smart thinking. Regionalisation is also happening at a fast pace. This again gives a lot of room for content creators to come into picture in the digital space. Till now, the focus has been about adaption of the medium, but soon it will be only about customisation, engagement and interactivity.

Q. We are yet to see extremely creative work in the digital space in India. Do you think the digital marketing space is yet to get the best of best talent?

It is a fact that digital as a medium itself is nascent. The real creative talent will come in when people will migrate from offline to online. The talent in the digital marketing is fresh, but it can noted that many creative buds from offline advertising are switching to digital because of the dynamic nature of the medium. As the demand for digital content increases, the medium will further mature and the best of talent will flow in.

Q. Do you think the Indian film industry, especially Bollywood, is using social media smartly in their communication plans?

Gone are the days when one had to go to a movie theatre to get a first look at much-awaited movies. Thanks to social media marketing by film marketers, today, the first look and feel of the movie is just a click away. I believe that social media has fundamentally changed film marketing in India today. With the advent of social media marketing, film marketers are able to build conversations, content and communities.

Film marketing is gaining sustenance because of social media strategies. In the last one year, we have executed a host of campaigns for some big ticket as well as small movies. If I have to talk about an interesting recent film project that we have worked on, it would be ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’. We have already created a lot of buzz about the film in different ways on social medium. We are really looking forward to see the response that we get for the project in the coming days.

Q. What are things that we can look forward to from Ignitee?

We are looking at strengthening our presence in the South. We will also be more aggressive in bringing in some very good senior management in place to take care of our operations across all our offices. Also, in the coming months, we are looking at betting high on content creation for clients.

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