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Online brand-building in India: The flight, figures and favourability – Part 2

26-August-2010
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Online brand-building in India: The flight, figures and favourability – Part  2

Advertisers today are open to experimenting like never before. One such experiment, or rather, developing trend in marketing seen these days is that of online brand-building. While Part 1 of the special report covered areas like the growing prowess of online brand-building, luring advertisers and ROI, Part 2 focuses on the advantages, the brand side of the story, and consumer engagement, among others.

Advantages for digital media owners

Portals help advertisers create the desired effect and experience online but what about their own brand? How do these brand promotions help digital media owners’ establish their brand?

To this, Neville Taraporewalla, Director, India Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group, Microsoft Consumer & Online, replied, “Like they say, you are the company that you keep! When MSN does unique & innovative brand promotions for good companies, MSN establishes itself as a good, responsible & reliable online brand.”

He further added, “Great brands will always be the ones that have an inherent ability to anticipate needs, innovate and build unique business models and relationships with their customers through various mediums, including the new media. They will continuously engage and connect with their consumers, be a part of their conversations and listen to them as much as they speak to them. The platforms that these brands associate themselves with to provide comprehensive solutions, in turn get recognized for these very virtues.”

Nitin Mathur, Senior Director, Marketing, Yahoo! India, replied along similar lines. He said, “Yahoo! has always been exploring and venturing into new ways of providing good content to its viewers in the most interesting ways. Along with its commitment towards its consumers, Yahoo! is also committed towards its advertisers. Brand promotions are a part of various ad campaigns done by advertisers on Yahoo! These brand promotion give both advertisers and Yahoo! new and creative ways to promote the brands on the online platform.”

The brand side of the story – Advertiser’s take

The advertiser needs all the good reasons to shift its choice from traditional media to online media. The feature of measuring their brand’s success online is what drives them the most towards picking up this new and innovative way of communication.

Emphasizing on the importance of Yahoo!, Vijay Ramchandran, Chief Marketing Officer, Citibank, South Asia, asserted, “We recognize Yahoo! as our valuable ally in driving our business and rely on Yahoo!’s targeted reach to promote our products. Through its vast reach (Yahoo! network reaches 73.5 per cent of the Indian Internet audience. Source: comScore May 2010) Yahoo! has helped us to bridge the gap and connect with our target audience in an effective way. We work with Yahoo! to run online campaigns for a variety of Citi products, as varied as remittance accounts for NRIs, credit cards for young working Indians. Online advertising is core to our business and plays a significant role in our business plans.”

While according to Shrijit Jagdish, Brand Manager, Scorpio, Mahindra and Mahindra, MSN has delivered unbelievable success rate to them. He informed, “With the Raid de Himalaya campaign, the key objective that we wished to achieve was maximum visibility over a short period considering the topicality of the event. It was a moment of pride for Scorpio that it won an extremely severe & gruelling winter rally in the Himalayas - one of the toughest in the world – and this was happening 2nd year in a row! Hence, we conceptualized a creative means of expressing this victory for the brand by hosting 9 hours roadblock on MSN. This was an innovative campaign especially in the digital space and this campaign was hugely successful. We received over 2.6 million impressions with close to 10,000 clicks.”

And has the online medium the brand like theirs better than other form of communications? To this, Jagdish replied, “While traditional media like TV and print remain pivotal to communication on a large scale, our digital initiatives are targeted at those segments of our TG who are e-savvy and who engage more with digital media. Digital marketing helps reach out to our fans in highly interactive ways that traditional media would not.”

Ramchandran added, “Digital Medium is a powerful medium which offers customized marketing solutions that deliver enhanced reach, better visibility, more conversations, higher customer engagement and better ROI. Digital advertising helps us target our audiences across specific segments, for instance NRI’s or males in a certain age group. With the internet penetration rising at a phenomenal rate in India, the medium is gaining fast popularity and is becoming a part of people’s everyday life. It is imperative for brands to make their presence felt on the digital medium given its widening reach and innumerous benefits. The medium is constantly evolving with more and more innovations coming its way and is grabbing the eyeballs of consumers across all genres.”

Coming face-to-face with customers

Since online space is where the brands and consumers get into the most direct way of interaction and feedback, how well is it taken by the advertiser? Does this stop them from taking their brand online?

“The web is an open platform for everyone to view and express their opinions and is definitely the most direct and spontaneous way of connecting with your audience. Today’s consumer is far more aware, evolved and enthusiastic about the products he wants to buy than the consumer of yester years. For an advertiser it is important to get constant feedback from its consumers in order to give the consumer a better product and maintain its position in the market. Understanding the consumer needs always results in new innovations for the product and helps in establishing a good relationship with the consumer. Digital medium helps in constantly being in touch with your target audience and meeting your brand objectives.”

Jagdish added, “As a customer centric organization, we at M&M, have always welcomed feedback as they form a critical part in our product development as well as improvements in service levels. With the digital boom, the distance between Customers and Manufacturers has significantly reduced and this works to an advantage for both parties, if appropriately channelized. For eg. our Scorpio community on FaceBook alone, is one of the largest 4-Wheeler communities in the Indian online space with over 67,000 fans. We receive feedback on a daily basis and have a process in place to ensure that they are recorded and responded to. Another positive with such communities is that customers become the custodians of the brand - and that, in our mind is the true success criteria for any brand.”

Setting up strategies – The road ahead

MSN and Yahoo! are all geared up to cater to the change in the mindset of the advertiser of today and in a way, these portals have been instrumental in changing the way an advertiser spends its money on digital media.

Taraporewalla believed, “With the growth & development of the online space, advertising mediums & channels have changed. The traditional ‘push’ advertising model is broken and a whole new window of opportunity to engage with the audiences in a cycle has evolved, that seamlessly shifts between ‘the push’ and ‘pull’ marketing and across the screens. Successful brands are embracing this future as it unfolds today & that is the universal trend. Hollywood movies have positioned themselves successfully using the Microsoft Digital products for engaging with audiences.”

Mathur added, “We are working on a route of educating the ecosystem, bringing knowledge and trends, nurturing creativity, success stories of other markets to all adopters and evangelists of the digital medium as a significant marketing medium.”

Yahoo! works with clients across industries, ranging from FMCG, Telecom, Auto to Retail and others. From innovative ad formats, interactive rich media banners, ability to creatively leverage properties such as Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! offers a large digital canvas which is the proposition of Art along with Science and a Scale reaching out to 74.5% of Online Indians.

While MSN works with names like Proctor & Gamble (launch of new Pantene), Levers (Vaseline & Dove), Toyota (Altis), ICICI Bank, Dell, Dish TV, Vodafone, Idea Cellular to name a few.

The third eye – Expert view

When asked who’s the winner out of the two – the advertiser or the portal, Gavane replied, “I believe, it’s a win-win situation for both, although a brand has much more to gain in the long run. Building a brand online will definitely have a long term effect on the brands recall and will not be just related to an activity or campaign executed on a particular portal.”

He further added, “Online advertising is not just about the click. There is a big branding opportunity for all advertisers to build their brand online. Just image if you had actually allocated 20 per cent of the budget for online, what you could actually achieve!”

Also read:

Online brand-building in India: The flight, figures and favourability – Part 1

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