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Why are brands going digital-first and digital-only?

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Why are brands going digital-first and digital-only?

Brands today have acquired a sense of confidence in the digital medium. There was a time, when digital ads meant uploading just the shorter edits of a television campaign on YouTube. Then came a phase, when most brands started making separate content for digital along with TVCs. Today these brands are either launching their new products or making their first mass media communications through a digital-only campaign.

Commenting on this, Pratik Gupta, Co-founder, FoxyMoron said, “Out of 1.3 billion people, 275 million are online. What brands are asking today is simple – if 100 million people will buy my product, and if 80-90 per cent of them are web-connected, then why focus anywhere else? Better use one medium and own it rather than using all the other media. If there is a brand that wishes to reach 700-800 million people, they will still look at digital as an extension medium and offline medium will be the first priority. For them, digital spends are usually over and above TV. And rightly so, offline touch points still are really overtly relevant. But if your brand is centered on digital, then budget allocation for the platform is much higher because they have a major chunk of their buying audience on digital.”

Last week, Tata Sky launched their new product ‘Tata Sky+ Transfer’ which will enables set top box recordings to be available on subscribers’ tablets and phones. The brand has been brave in taking risks when it comes to TV advertising. Last year it launched their longest running TVC (three-and-a-half minute long) ‘Prison Break’ and bagged a place in the Limca Book of Records. Also, for their last offering ‘Daily Recharge’ the brand introduced 13 episodic TV films and showcased a love story brewing between the protagonists. This time however, Tata Sky veered away from TV and preferred to take the digital-only route to launch their product, whose primary audience is already on the digital platform.

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In June, marking the launch of its blended Scotch whiskey brand Grant’s in India, William Grant & Sons unveiled a unique digital campaign 'The Awesome Job'. Through the campaign done by Sapient Nitro, the brand started a hunt for the perfect brand ambassador, which hinged on social participation. The main purpose of the campaign was to build awareness of the brand and at the same time make it interesting.

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Lenovo even used a digital-only campaign titled ‘InthenameofK3’ to launch their K3 Note recently. Before its launch, the brand teased Twitterati by posting a picture on its Twitter page saying ‘THE KILLER IS COMING SOON’. The teaser was effective and within minutes Lenovo’s account was flooded with tweets from curious buyers who wanted to know more about the announcement. On the microsite, people were asked to bury their phones with fond memories. After keeping the momentum and the buzz alive for few days, the brand finally revealed their new product through the online campaign.

This year Airtel released their first communication for 4G Home WiFi through a series of three videos on the digital medium. This campaign was targeted solely towards the Southern market and was launched much before the main TVC for Airtel 4G released.

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How has the perception of the digital medium changed?

KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, Sapient Nitro, feels that the perception of brands has not changed; it is the consumers who are changing. It is because of sheer necessity that brands have been launching digital-only campaigns, because their audience is on this platform for the majority of their time. “Earlier, from the corporate perspective, there was pressure to do some 1-2 per cent of digital work, only to please the global ecosystem. But things are no longer the same today, because consumers are living in the digital age and brands are talking to a different set of consumers, whose purchasing patterns and habits have changed,” he said.

Sridhar further highlighted, “People want to be active and not passive today. They want to react, and the digital platform allows them to interact in the form of Like, Share and Comment. Earlier, TV showed a lot of emotional content and digital was used for commerce and transactional purposes. But if people today are not watching TV, then the digital medium needs to fill the space up by dishing out emotional content.”

Oyo Rooms released its first communication through a digital campaign which was done by Boring Brands. On Father’s Day and Independence Day, the brand introduced videos featuring unconventional faces like Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpai and Piyush Mishra. These videos went viral and helped in increasing brand awareness for the start-up.

Speaking on this, Anshul Sushil, CEO and Co-founder at Boring Brands explained, “We usually work with start-ups and they are run by a bunch of intelligent people. These guys believe in doing unconventional stuff and understand the value of being different. The entrepreneurs of today want to capture the audience who is online and they give the agency the freedom to do whatever it takes to engage these users. They want to make these audiences the brand’s first evangelists. The reason being, this will always allow them to be the talk of the town.”

Echoing similar thoughts, Yogesh Gadekar, Senior Account Manager, Gozoop said, “If your marketing efforts are not yielding any substantial results, chances are you're not reaching out to your audience in a way that they would like you to. Marketing is nothing but adapting with the changing consumer behaviour in real time. With the proliferation of tablets, smartphones, faster internet speed/4G, there's been an unprecedented growth in the number of people getting well acquainted with the digital world. How many times have you sat down on your couch with the TV on while you're browsing the Internet on your smartphone? There you go! This is the reason for the shift from traditional to digital media.”

According to Gadekar, digital is dynamic and unlike TV, it allows one to monitor, modify and halt any marketing activities any time one wants. Increasing usage of digital combined with its flexibility has made marketers not only to go digital first but also allocate separate budgets to execute their digital campaigns. Digital is here to stay and will keep getting powerful with time and technology.

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