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Guest Column: Effective brand mktg – Apps the way

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Guest Column: Effective brand mktg – Apps the way

In a mobile enabled world, brand marketing just got a whole lot tougher – as audience gets more fragmented. While reaching audiences on mobile may be cheaper on a per click basis, for now, RoI is also much lower across mobile channels as compared to desktop Internet as Mary Meeker of KPCB highlighted in her recent report on Internet trends. Brand marketers are hence turning towards a new strategy of creating content that is relevant and could engage their consumer base. Apps and games are turning out to be key tools in this new strategy.

Are consumers in India behaving any differently than elsewhere? The data and evidence indicates that if anything, the underlying trend of mobile Internet adoption is growing much faster in India than anywhere else. With over 300m users accessing mobile Internet in India, with over 10 per cent of time spent on the Internet shifting to mobile, brands need innovative approaches in engaging their users. Mobiles have always held the promise of finer consumer targeting given a brand manager can target the country, sometimes the city, whether smartphone user or not and other parameters. However, a key attribute of mobile users’ behaviour that distinguishes from user behaviour across other mediums is the innate tendency to download content – a trend that was reinforced by the vibrant VAS industry. It is tapping into this finer targeting and users’ inclination to download content that makes the foundation for brands taking the content route.

A third and key reason for content being more effective is simply that instead of a brand message being displayed across mobile sites in the form of banners (no matter how creative they are), content, if tailored to the users’ needs, or aligned with the social media feedback are powerful tools. Such content, if created across media, with high relevance may also be organically discovered by the target consumer base. This is probably the most powerful benefit of content marketing. For example, a traveler planning his visit to a new city, trying to look up his nearest ATM may stumble upon say an ATM locator app from his favourite airline.

In this context, apps and games provide the most powerful type of content for brands to engage with – they can be contextual, interactive, may have social media integrations to give instant feedback, can be relatively efficient to distribute to the target audience. There are a number of great examples and we have one below for you.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a perfect case study to understand this trend. IPL as a brand has developed a 360 degree presence for itself, be it branding through billboards, print, online or television advertising or developing a range of merchandise for each and every team such as caps, T-shirts and trophy nicknacks. IPL also, through their partners such as Indiatimes or Indiagames, created an official DLF IPL App to keep their audience updated about scores, happenings and much more. Further, they developed 10 casual games for each of the local teams to engage, entertainment and update their audience about cricket.

Whether it is a score centre app or creating cricket games, the idea is the same- reinforce the local brands – Mumbai Indians, Chennai SuperKings, etc., through creative content. These games were aggressively distributed across multiple channels – be it through telecom operators, apps stores, etc. Mobango, one of the largest global apps store in the past two seasons of IPL have enabled IPL to reach a large audience by driving more than 3 lakh downloads for each season. The number of downloads in any one single sub category of casual games, surpassed other such content reflecting the power of the brands.

Further content engagement can give insights which very few others can provide to the brands. For example, Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings had twice more downloads than the next popular team – Mumbai Indians – in the current season of IPL. How can DD/ CSK or MI teams make use of this data and insights to refine their strategies for next year or what can other teams do to increase engagement in the following season?

(Badri Sanjeevi is CEO of Mauj Mobile and Mobango.)

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