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Vishakha Singh

Executive Director | 11 Apr 2012

"Shopper marketing is about being with the consumer right from the time he enters a store and not just being present at the point of sale. This requires understanding consumers and reaching out to them in a local and relevant manner. Shopper marketing has been in existence since the time ‘kirana’ stores came up, but there was no science attached to it then. With the arrival of mall culture and modern retail, the number of contextual touch-points with the consumer have increased, which has in turn increased the scope of work in this space."

Vishakha Singh, Executive Director, Aurora Comms, has successfully built several brands and played an instrumental role in several media start-up projects. Singh’s entrepreneurial abilities are demonstrated by the emergence of Aurora Comms, popularly called as A Comms, which she co-founded a couple of years ago. She has built it from a tiny start-up to a formidable group that offers contextual and relevant branding solutions.

Prior to the establishing Aurora Comms, Singh was the Director of Marcom and Strategy at Future Media. She played a key role in launching Future TV, the first live network of in-store digital media with content customised for the channel. She has also worked with Times Now, CNBC-TV18, The Smart Manager, Wisden Asia Cricket and Times Group.

Here are excerpts from Priyanka Nair’s conversation with her:

Q. What, according to you, is the most important factor to connect with the target audience in the Out Of Home (OOH) space?

The most important factor is being contextual to the OOH medium. At A Comms, we are focused on staging brand campaigns at places where people spend money; we call it Consumer Spend Zones. While spending here, the consumer is more attentive, at times consciously and many a times subconsciously. Any consumption touch-point thereby, becomes important for us to connect to the consumers. It is extremely crucial to remain true to the context of the ambience of the place, i.e. maybe small to hyper stores, financial retail, health and beauty chains, malls, small and big theatres, multiplexes, etc.

Q. You come from a rich retail background. Can you share your views on the development of shopper marketing in India?

Shopper marketing is about being with the consumer right from the time he enters a store and not just being present at the point of sale. This requires understanding consumers and reaching out to them in a local and relevant manner. Shopper marketing has been in existence since the time ‘kirana’ stores came up, but there was no science attached to it then. With the arrival of mall culture and modern retail, the number of contextual touch-points with the consumer have increased, which has in turn increased the scope of work in this space. Though modern retail contributes no more than 10 per cent to entire sales for most of the brands, it has been able to seed a habit of looking at retail media as part of the shopper marketing plan and not just as point of sale.

Q. How different is OOH today compared to what it was a few years back?

OOH industry in India has evolved over the years. I will stay focused towards retail media and it can be noted that brands today have got more clarity and confidence in this medium. Brands have also now understood the effectiveness of digital signage and it is now slowing gaining momentum in the retail space. There is more clarity on how to use digital signage and other technology interfaces. According to me, OOH is becoming a crucial part of media plans across brand categories. Categories such as e-commerce have showed a lot of trust in the OOH space.

Q. How would you compare the Indian OOH industry to its global counterparts?

Globally, technology has helped OOH a lot in gaining a larger share of the advertising pie, both in terms of execution as well as measurement. Even modern retail has established itself globally; however it is still in growth stages in India. Shopper marketing and digital shopper marketing are yet to be defined in India.

Q. What do you think will the penetration of digital OOH bring to the industry?

In digital OOH, planning along with the placement of screens and content plays a very important role. Crisp content can create huge impact in this space. If clients understand this and there is buy-in, this medium can be used to its optimum to grab a lot of eyeballs. Interesting consumer engagement can also be executed via this medium. Digital OOH will thereby, bring sophistication and confidence for both, brands and agencies.

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