The India chapter of OgilvyOne’s Global Digital Summit ‘Verge’ was held in Mumbai on February 7. Leaders in business, branding and media discussed and debated on the impact of digital services on marketing and trends.
The conclave had experts from OgilvyOne, Hutchison Essar Telecom, Hindustan Lever, Times Global Broadcasting, MSN, Jasubhai Digital Media, ABN AMRO, Motorola India, Yahoo! India, and ActiveMedia Technologies among others. The key topic of discussion was the changing digital media landscape and how marketers can capitalise on the new technologies, platforms and applications and apply them in advertising, direct marketing and interactive marketing.
Renuka Jaypal, President, OgilvyOne India and National Business Director-Telecom, said, “I believe that digital communication does not live in the future, it is here already. While the audiovisual medium will remain possibly the most powerful way for brands to communicate with customers, the way that happens will change. It will become two-way and more interactive.”
She added, “OgilvyOne has the unique advantage of offering our clients end to end communication solutions in the digital space. Everything, from providing strategic direction to creative conceptualisation and execution to online planning and buying to the technological backbone, is done in-house. There are more Internet users in India than the combined populations of Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Therefore, to not see digital media as a crucial part of the marketing mix is an opportunity lost.”
Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO, OgilvyOne Worldwide gave a global view of digital services as they are today and where they are headed. He said, “In the 21st century, the only constant is change. We think the rate of change is accelerating – largely because of digital technologies and the marketing possibilities they open up. We see the future of marketing communications as a world where digital technologies are mainstream and digital marketing is no longer new media, but central to people’s lives and businesses everywhere, all around the world.”
With TV and video enabling visual story telling, they are the most powerful persuasion possibilities in the form of interactive TV programmes such as ‘American Idol’, ‘Canadian Idol’ and ‘Indian Idol’. The out of home medium can also use digital technologies to disseminate real time information.
According to Fetherstonhaugh, some strategies to survive in today’s converging media landscape include adopting a new way of thinking, be better storytellers, become good brand parents, and trust and understand one’s consumer. He said, “Some ways to test and measure ideas can be done through e-marketing, search marketing, mobile marketing, adding interactivity to out of home and point of sale, and mapping out your consumers’ journey.”
Kent Wertime, President, OgilvyOne, Asia Pacific, said, “In Asia, digital services are now a regular part of consumers’ lives. As marketers, our task is to keep up with this shift, to ensure that consumers are not more sophisticated in the use of digital media than we are.”
Wertime added that Asia was the world’s digital leader with the Internet user base being 34.2 per cent of global users. Some topics that he discussed were the changing media landscape that has evolved from print, radio and TV to pay channels, DVD, Internet, and digital cable; consumers moving from push based content to pull based content by controlling content through blogs and online avatars; and evolving wireless technologies and digital retail.
The Indian perspective was explained visually through a musical – No Strings Attached – which tried to break all myths about India lagging in digital services and Indians not being Net savvy.
This was followed by Panel Discussion 1 - ‘Will the Internet do to TV what TV did to radio?’ The moderator was Ken Mandel, VP and CEO Digital and Group Media, who said, “The Internet is entering a very exciting renaissance period right now after the dark years trailing the dotcom crash. India, with its strong lock on software development and passionate entrepreneurs, will play a pivotal role in this emerging revival.”
He added, “This renaissance period is finally delivering on the Web’s earlier promises of the three Cs – community, content and, to some extent, commerce. Brands are again stumbling to understand how to participate in something that is moving faster than they are comfortable with. My role is to help them sort out the good, the bad and the ugly, and make sure that they stay relevant and profitable in these exciting times.”
Speakers in this session were Dalip Sehgal, Executive Director, New Ventures and Marketing Services, HLL; Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Global Broadcasting Co Ltd; L Subramanyan, President and Publishing Director, Jasubhai Digital Media; and Jonathon Baron, Regional Director-Sales, MSN, Asia Pacific.
Sehgal disagreed that Internet would kill TV, but added that there would be a media convergence and marketers needed to take advantage of this. Lulla said, “TV works in India because we as a society like doing things together and TV viewing is a time to spend time with family and friends.”
According to Subramanyan, there were two distinct Indias – big cities, where the Internet was a way of life, and small cities, where TV was a major source of entertainment and Internet was only used for educational and business purposes.
The common opinion of the panelists was that radio, TV and Internet are all powerful but marketers need to realise which medium works best for them to push their business forward.