The actual value of social media and digital advertising is of great importance to Cheil Worldwide, which handles just one client, Samsung, in India, but provides an array of services for them. The organisation handles all of Samsung’s promotion in the country, from the branded store experiences, to training and interacting with salespeople at multi-brand stores to TV, print and digital advertising, including social media.
Naresh Gupta, National Head, Account Planning, Cheil Worldwide, said, “We handle everything that Samsung sells in India and so there’s no single strategy at play. The techniques that work for selling a microwave might not work for a smartphone. But what we have seen is that for some products, like smartphones or the new range of smart TVs, digital offers us a chance to walk consumers through the entire feature set – we can put up videos on YouTube, which demonstrate the product wonderfully. This isn’t feasible with TV advertising.”
He added, “Our TV strategy is to announce products and showcase certain values about how good the product is, and then we use the web to allow people to get a better look at the products. We create videos for the internet, the kind of things we can’t use on TV.”
This has been growing tremendously and while Gupta could not share the exact figures, he said that the spending they did on digital media had grown by as much as four times in the last year. While the spends on TV and print remain steady, the spending on digital is growing quickly, and some products are being marketed exclusively online.
Gupta said, “Samsung is launching a new laptop, which is a very sleek and high powered machine. It is a niche product, which is only of relevance to a small portion of the audience, and advertising it on television is not as effective as advertising on digital, through banners, search marketing, etc.”
Just being on social media is not enough
One area which Cheil, and by extension Samsung, has been less involved with for marketing is social media. According to Gupta, social media was a powerful tool, and one that was growing in relevance, but there was still not enough information available on how to use it effectively.
He said, “Just being on social media is not enough. Gathering likes does not really mean much. Today, the challenge at hand is on figuring the right kind of engagement that is possible with social media.”
As per a recent study carried out by Cheil in India online, with respondents from across 20 towns, fans and likes can give a brand a sense of measure, but are not indicative of how the consumers engage with them. Since the survey was carried out online, it is not even taking into account the views of people who do not engage with social networks like Facebook, but even then, 73 per cent of the audience said that they are not actively searching for brands, and 80 per cent do not enjoy interacting with brands on social media.
There are advantages as well. Gupta said, “With social media, you know that the people you are talking to are real. You have their profile information at hand. But through our studies we also learned some things.”
He explained, “We believed that people seek opinions on social media but that’s not what starts the process. This changes the way we plan our messaging. We have realised that the term social media is misleading. For people, it’s entertainment, not media. People are not shopping online before they go online. We learned through our research that people trust advertising more than social communication, so we have to plan accordingly.”
Ground level activities
This leads to a lot of ground level activity – for example, over the next two months, Cheil will be converting 600 Samsung stores in the country into ‘Smartphone Cafes’, where users can interact with the devices, and will build brand connect by connecting the phones to Samsung TVs, so that users are seeing what they do on the phone on the big screen as well. Gupta said, “The idea is to interact on multiple levels. For example in the US, we created a 20,000 square foot ‘museum’ to Samsung in Manhattan, where users can come in, watch TV, use the phones, and we don’t do any transactions in this space. It’s for testing new products, and building familiarity.”
From the research, Cheil learned that only 20 per cent people seek opinions from friends on social media before buying. While this number is expected to rise, today it is still emerging. Gupta said, “Customers have started to respond to brands on social media and are open to greater interactions, but social media is still far behind television today.”