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How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

Consumers are the New Media

Atrayee Chakraborty, Business Director, Lintas Media Group

Consumers have always been considered a powerful communication channel. It is not a new phenomenon. They formed interest groups and discussed various topics of interest. What is new is the speed and ease of getting connected to millions of similar-minded individuals by just the click of a few buttons. Internet and mobile phones have largely contributed to this.

For sure, someone somewhere is also talking about your brand, be it positive or negative. Backed by technology, now the same can spread like a virus.

Social Media Marketing
Realising the power of word of mouth in this digital era, marketers have started looking for ways and means to reach out and engage consumers through social media. The process of promoting brands by establishing a two-way conversation between existing and potential consumers is called social media marketing.

It is different from advertising on social media as here brands do not speak, but consumers do. It is all about participating, sharing and creating value for each other. No more of ''''us'''' and ''''them'''', but it is how we work together to meet our very different needs and objectives.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) has the power to engage audience, encourage conversations, increase presence on the web, expand brand awareness, generate publicity and provide search engine optimisation benefits. It is not about instant conversion and hence, not directly linked to ROI.

Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, in their book ''''Groundswell'''' said social media initiatives can help in:

SMM can be used for:

  • Brand building
  • Relationship management
  • Product development
  • Reputation management
  • Customer interaction
  • Customer feedback
  • Customer support
  • Community building
  • Search engine optimization

1. Listening 1 (research) - Observe online discussions of your audience to gain a deeper understanding of their opinions, needs, desires, etc. This can be a big help in identifying opportunities to engage with the audience.
2. Talking 2 (marketing) - Participate in conversations. This becomes an avenue to promote your companies position and message.
3. Energising (sales) - Identify enthusiastic brand advocates and create strategies to empower them to be even more effective as ambassadors of your brand.
4. Supporting (customer support) - Build networks of customers for the purpose of helping each other to get more out of the company''''s products or services.
5. Embracing (development) - Once you have a solid understanding of where your customers are, invite them into the discussion of where the company is headed in terms of new products or services.

Do''''s and Don''''ts of Social Media Marketing

5 Pillars of Social Media Marketing by Ben Willis:

  1. Declaration of Identity
  2. Identity through Association
  3. User-initiated Conversation
  4. Provider-initiated conversation
  5. In-person Interaction

When participating in social media, be honest in sharing your true identity. Good to be upfront about your intention and the brand or company you represent. Consumers are intelligent and cannot be faked for long. The day they find out, damage caused would far outweigh the goodwill generated in short-run.

Identify key blog forums where your target audiences usually interact. It is a good idea to spot and develop partnership with highly connected and vocal members, the influencers. Engage with them even offline. Once convinced they can help tip information faster. Monitor for some time various content people are exchanging in order to engage in a meaningful conversation. Try to add value to what is being discussed. Initially try to avoid talking about your product. Build favourability through familiarity first and then talk business.

It is easy to leverage the good things being talked about your brand, but what if they are criticising it? Definitely do not ignore the same. In such situations it is good to first investigate facts and then to respond.

If the information being circulated is correct, you may just explain your side of the story and how you are planning to address it. Also indicate your willingness to receive questions through direct emails in order to divert the conversation offline.

And if the stated negative about the brand is not true, then politely request blog, forum or news site-owner to remove the post by providing valid supporting evidence. Request them to publish the correct version and circulate it even in other forums. In case it does not work that easy do consult a lawyer.

It is important to know where and what people are talking about the brand and its competition. This helps one to get early signals. For this some sort of monitoring system is definitely needed. A few tips on this from MarketingPilgrim.com are given below:

- Create custom RSS feeds based on keyword searches: Feedster.com, technorati.com, google.com/blogsearch, etc.
- Filter all feeds into one RSS Reader for easy and timely monitoring with Newsgator.com, Google Reader, Bloglines.com and others
- Use Google or Yahoo keyword based email alerts
- Track changes in web pages with tools like Website Watcher and Watchthatpage.com
- Get a feel for stories that are creating a buzz in the blogosphere via sites like Techmeme.com and Blogniscient.com

To reap more out of these communities organise your own offline gatherings to bond with them better and to use them as spokespersons of your brand. A lot of PR mileage can also be earned in the process.

What you just need to avoid is to advertise or commercialize your message, fake identity and over-inflate expectations on what the campaign can do. It is very necessary to have a well-thought social media marketing strategy to make the most of it.

Social Media Measurement

Measurements factors to be looked at:

  • Engagement
  • Influence
  • Duration
  • Search Visibility
  • Reputation
  • New Initiators
  • User Generated Content
  • Topics
  • Competitive Dynamics
  • Brand Advocacy

Tracking of various social media content such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, social networking sites, video/photo sharing websites, forums, message boards, and user generated contents in general is known as social media measurement.

BuzzMetrics by AC Nielsen is a step forward in measuring the power of social media.

A few examples of successful Social Media Marketing
In March 2007, the ''''Never Hide'''' word-of-mouth campaign of Ray Ban was a big success story. The objective of the campaign was to become relevant to youth adults once again. They decided to speak the language of today''''s consumers and break out of their comfort zone - press and TV advertising. As part of the initial plan photos of customers wearing their favourite Ray Ban shades were shown on 11 video screens in New York Times Square. Then a video called ''''Catch'''' featuring two average-looking individuals was released on YouTube. Not only did the video create buzz on media like CNN, BBC, CBS, it got viewed more than 13 million times worldwide according to Ray Ban data 1.

Another example of how WOM can boost brand awareness is Dove''''s campaign for Real Beauty in year 2004. The campaign used ''''real'''' women, not professional models, their stories and photos to redefine ''''real beauty'''' from the stand point of Dove''''s customers. These interactive web programmes and videos were also supported by traditional advertising. It served to reinforce that Dove believes in natural beauty.

Not just abroad, even in India a few brands have started using social media marketing, say, for example, Makemytrip.com. They tied up with mouthshut.com to leverage social media. The objective was to gather consumer feedback via an interactive mechanism. Campaign responded well and loads of good and bad feedbacks were received. They resolved the issues and re-communicated it back to them through the same network.

One more example is Jet Airways. They had a student package for those going to countries like the UK and the US for further studies. To reach out to the student audience, Pinstorm opted to run an SMO campaign on social media networks. They created a character called Neha Thomas, a person helping Jet Airways to market their students'''' plan, to spread the buzz in relevant forums where the target audiences are most likely to be found chatting. The response was really eye-opening on how fast and how well this media works if used in the right way.

Another live example of social media came into force during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. A few Pinstormers got together to collate vital information such as hospital and other emergency service numbers at http://helpmumbai.pinstorm.com. After the attacks, the group now works in partnership with the Bombay Community Public Trust, one of the most reputed NGOs in Mumbai to rehabilitate those affected in the terror attacks. So far, the group has succeeded in raising lakhs of rupees by spreading the message on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.


It is time to reap the benefits of this new dynamic media. Recent survey from Nielsen show 78 per cent of Internet users worldwide place more trust in consumer recommendations than advertising. On a standalone basis, however, social media marketing can do nothing. It works wonders mostly when used appropriately in conjunction with other media. According to the study by Bigresearch, consumers often get triggered to do online search after they see ads on traditional media. This further establishes the importance of integrated media solutions in driving communication better. However, the biggest hurdle in our country is the fact that most Indian web users hesitate to upload content and express their point of view freely in writing. They mainly prefer to read and download. Screening out the niche vocal influencer-class is a big challenge in social media optimisation.

We at LMG, in association with Pinstorm, can monitor, design and execute various SMM campaigns. Pinstorm uses a tool called the BuzzMeter, which allows us to monitor conversations about any brand/ product/ service all over the Internet. Using this tool, it''''s now possible to track user response in real time and optimise any marketing campaign mid-course. It is time for us to think how we can leverage the best out of this media for all our clients.

1. Psst….pass it on by Thomas Wailgum, http://www.warc.com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp?CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH87411&Tab=A
2. Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li
3. http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2006/03/online-reputation-monitoring-beginners.html
4. http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2006/10/the-five-pillars-of-social-media-marketing.html

Getting a hold on Google Instant Benedict Hayes
- Benedict Hayes, Head of Search, Communicate 2 - 10/15/2010
Webinar – An evolving marketing tool
- Balaji Kesavraj, Head - Marketing (India), Cisco WebEx - 10/21/2009
Accurate and reliable Readership Measurement Matrices need of the hour
- Manajit Ghoshal, CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia - 1/28/2009
Lending a helping hand to those who fell defending Mumbai
- S Yesudas, CEO, RK Swamy Media Group - 12/2/2008
It would be wonderful if a great idea wins an election
- Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell - 11/24/2008
Social Media: A suitable supplement?
- Indranil Datta, Vice President – Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 10/13/2008
100 GRP: New benchmark or overrated myth?
- Indranil Datta, Vice President - Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 9/8/2008
Reality talent search: Redefining TV viewership
- Indranil Datta, Vice President-Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 8/13/2008
Artificial Obsolescence
- Anand Kurian, Writer and advertising professional, - 6/25/2008
Why the Consumer should not be the King in India?
- Jitender Dabas, VP & Strategic Planning Director, JWT India - 6/19/2008
How the Voda pug got lost in God’s own country
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, Managing Director -- Motivator, A GroupM company - 6/3/2008
There is a new K-serial on air, it’s called K-ricket
- Anisha Motwani, Executive Director-Marketing, Max New York Life - 5/22/2008
Managing Retail Through Market Research
- Muder Chiba, Executive Director, TNS India - 5/8/2008
Understanding Integrated Marketing Communication in India
- Deepika Kurl, Sport Leasing – Corporate Controller, San Francisco, USA - 4/11/2008
Making the most of large format events
- Vijay Singh, MD, 141 Sercon - 3/31/2008
... And then there were blogs
- Preeti Chaturvedi, Manager, Mktg & Biz Dev., GIST
Justin Rabindra, VP, Training & Knowledge Mngt, Ogilvy One Worldwide - 2/25/2008
The ‘Nano’ Challenge
- Sourabh Mishra, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA\India Group - 1/29/2008
Genre hypnotism
- Manisha Talwar Rana, Marketing Communications, LG Electronics - 1/10/2008
When ‘Dhan’ in Dhanteras becomes elusive
- Vishakha Singh, Head-MarCom, Future Media India - 11/22/2007
Who stole my retail dream?
- Hemant M Mishrra, Brand Consultant, Mudra Brand Sollutions - 11/5/2007
Watching less, Reading less, Talking more
- Praveen Ramachandra, Business Director, Insights, MindShare, Bangalore - 10/24/2007
The 4Es of Client Management
- Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell - 10/11/2007
Advertisers to vie for that two square inch space on your mobile handset
- Dr L Venkata Subramaniam, Research Staff Member, IBM India Research Lab - 9/10/2007
The Lintas saga: Why Prembhai is not Anilbhai or Mukeshbhai
- Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, brand-comm - 8/8/2007
Is the Advertising business losing respect?
- Gopinath Menon, Senior Vice-President, Media, TBWA India - 7/28/2007
What's your brand's chakra reading?
- Mythili Chandrasekar, VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT - 7/19/2007
Growing hunger for Business Analytics
- Sandeep Pandey, National Business Director, ATG - 3/20/2007
Is agency bonus the right way to reward success?
- Libby Child - CEO, UK, & Sunil Gupta - Regional Director, South West Asia, APRAIS Worldwide - 2/6/2007
Is your media plan CAS-trated?
- Rajendra Dwivedi, Business Director, MAXUS - 1/22/2007
Do not divide - and rule!
- Premjeet Sodhi, Senior Vice President, Initiative, Lintas Media Group - 12/5/2006
Bonding with the big studios at MIPCOM
- Gitanjali Murari, Programming Head, PIX - 10/24/2006
The Phenomenon of Instant Success
- Sandeep Singh & Gaurav Sood, COO, CSD, Get.Next.Job, Wunderman India - 8/16/2006
The mystery of the vanishing agency
- Lynn de Souza, Director of Media Services, Lintas India Pvt Ltd. - 7/27/2006
The Word-of-Mouth Factor

I have found that Word-of-Mouth works fastest when integrated into standard brand building communication.

- Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands - 6/28/2006
The birth of the Global Indian

From whining about the globalisation of India to celebrating the Indianisation of the Globe: tracing and defending the role of media and advertising

- Mythili Chandrasekar, VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT Chennai - 5/29/2006
Be a leader, others will follow you as an evangelist
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Consultant, International School of Business and Media, Pune - 4/24/2006
Towards a meaningful industry integration
- S. Yesudas, COO, Media Direction - 4/1/2006
Showtime Everywhere @ Davos 2006
- Atri Sengupta, Director, Showtime - 2/21/2006
A door to “impact” full media plans
- S Yesudas, Business Advisor (Director), Initiative Worldwide, Jakarta - 1/17/2006
A profession does not become redundant, its practitioners do
- Svetleena Choudhary, Media Group Head, Initiative, Delhi - 12/9/2005
Jaago Grahak Jaago – bring accountability in media
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, General Manager, GroupM Team LG - 11/8/2005
- Sushil Bahl, Consultant, International School of Business & Media, Pune - 10/18/2005
Media specialist: Changing paradigms
- S Yesudas, Business Advisor (Director), Initiative Worldwide, Jakarta - 10/7/2005
“It’s the customer, stupid”
- Justin Rabindra, Regional Knowledge Manager, Asia Pacific,OgilvyOne Worldwide - 8/8/2005
The Changing Indian Woman
- Kishore Chakraborti, Associate VP and Director, Consumer Insight, McCann Erickson India - 7/12/2005
Vision & Mission: Breaking the joojoo
- Manosh Sengupta, General Manager – Marketing Communications, IDEA Cellular Limited - 6/22/2005
It’s about time we took the customer seriously, and started treating him like he mattered
- Justin Rabindra, Regional Knowledge Manager, Asia Pacific,OgilvyOne Worldwide - 5/18/2005
Too much of a good thing? Research Vs "gut feel"
- Abraham M. Alapatt, Client Services Director, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Chennai,& Practice Group Partner, Ogilvy Business Network - 4/27/2005
Does brand management need a shave and a wash?
- Ashish Misra, VP Marketing, Mason & Summers Alcobev - 4/6/2005
Is creativity all about creatiwitty?
- Surojit Sen, Creative Supervisor (Copy), Rediffusion DY&R, New Delhi - 3/15/2005
Singapore Airlines – An Excellent Asian Brand
- Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic, Singapore - 12/18/2004
Changing Black into White!
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management,Nirma University - 11/27/2004
STAR POWER – Will the force be with you?
- Anupma Suneja, General Manager, Synovate - 10/29/2004
The True Value of Account Management
- Anisha Motwani, Vice-president, EURO RSCG, New Delhi - 10/4/2004
K-Kapoor Factory, B-Bollywood, C-Cricket…but no crorepatis!
- Rakesh Khar, Programme Director, School of Communications, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida - 9/16/2004
A Closer Look at Awards
- Indu Balachandran, Executive Creative Director, JWT Chennai - 8/26/2004
Moving towards ‘virtual’ PR agencies
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty–Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 8/11/2004
Pepsi and the art of Cool
- Rohit Ohri, Senior VP & Area Director-Delhi, J Walter Thompson - 7/21/2004
Cannes of creativity (no worms need apply)!
- Ashish Misra, Vice-President Marketing, Katra Liquor - 7/8/2004
"Budget blues and the rest of the year"
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 6/24/2004
Understanding Commercial Break Viewing on Television Setting Norms that Promote Effective Buying
- P V Narayanmoorthy, Regional Director, Strategic Resource, Carat - 6/7/2004
“The list of their restrictions can go on forever…….Perhaps they deserve all those many crores that they receive for endorsements. It offsets their suffering, I guess. Except, how come they have all the restrictions and all the money, and I have all the choice, not the power to exercise it?”
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 5/29/2004
‘Comparing different and unrelated companies often is an acceptable approach if you are looking simply at the operating features of the business rather than their financial performance.’
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty–Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 5/15/2004
"A fully interactive brand channel on UK satellite today exists in what is essentially a walled-garden of some 200 channels, rather than the Wild West of 17 million websites. It reaches more than seven million homes and will drive commerce both electronically and through the brand’s outlets."
- Bhaskar Majumdar, CEO, Recreate Solutions - 4/21/2004
The index could be based on a rating that takes into account agreed parameters/attributes, past-present media coverage/favourability and relevance, ground situation in terms of successful/unsuccessful seasons/tenures, future prospects, etc.
- Rajesh S Lalwani, Director, Strategy & Business Development, brand-comm - 4/10/2004
Instead of a Unique Selling Proposition, let’s start thinking about our Unique Feelings Proposition.
- Suresh Dinakaran, President, Communicate, Dubai - 3/11/2004
Creating the right buzz through WOM
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad - 2/24/2004
"India Shining is worth more than a Lion"
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 2/10/2004
Connecting with the Rural Folks
- R V Rajan, CMD, Anugrah Madison Advertising Pvt. Ltd. - 1/13/2004
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 12/20/2003
7 Highly Effective Ways of Killing a Brand
- Ashish Misra, , - 11/27/2003
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Institute of Management, Nirma University - 11/5/2003
Sorry, Cannes Save You.
- G S Shridhar, CEO, Purple Blaze Advertising Consultancy - 10/24/2003
The Context of Existance
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 9/24/2003
"Oh, you don't work Saturdays" and other taunts!"
- G S Murari, Director, Fidelis Advertising and Marketing - 9/13/2003
"But to say advertising is dead or dying is being somewhat naïve"
- Sushil Bahl, Professor, Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) Ahmedabad - 9/1/2003
Attack of the delight providers
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre - 7/30/2003
"Creativity on demand with creative aerobics and imagination management"
- Prof. Linda Conway Correll and Sushil Bahl, , - 7/23/2003
"Lessons in Advertising"
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 7/3/2003
"Fees, and not a 15% commission, I am told, are now the order of the day."
- Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands - 6/2/2003
"The AOR or media agency will continue to grow in importance because this is where one talks money."
- Arun Kumar, Associate Media Director, MPG, Delhi - 5/15/2003
"Does your Marketing Strategy know your Consumer?"
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre. - 4/26/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Indrajit Lahiri, Professor of Broadcast, Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communications - 4/15/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Amitava Guha, GM,, Key Accounts Hindustan Times - 4/1/2003
"Asian companies need to move up the value chain through strategic branding."
- Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic - 3/26/2003
"THE PRICE IS RIGHT (OR IS IT?)" A closer look at the perils of misusing the pricing variable in the marketing mix.
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 3/1/2003
"If today, agencies are under fire, are we, the client, not as responsible for this crisis?"
- Manosh Sengupta, GM, Marketing Communications, Idea Cellular - 2/19/2003
"Media marketing has finally come of age."
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, CEO, Optimedia Indonesia - 1/30/2003
"Great advertising ideas are not just original and interesting, most importantly they are relevant."
- Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting - 1/11/2003
"Look London, Talk Tokyo: The eternal schizophrenia of the advertising creative person"
- Kiran Khalap, Founder, Chlorophyll - 12/28/2002
How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 12/16/2002
"I think a lot of our clients are far more inquisitive about the future of media than us media professionals..."
- Sandip Tarkas, President, South Asia, MPG - 12/2/2002
"But now, it sometimes seems to me that the creative and servicing teams are completely divorced from the media"
- Shovon Chowdhury, Exec VP & GM, Bates India - 11/12/2002
"Broadcasters are today putting the distribution and pay related issues as top priority and factor in new concepts like 'Opportunity To See'"
- Amitabh Srivastava, - Network Development, GM Aaj Tak - 10/21/2002
Phadnis comes from Planning and Strategy background, having worked with Starcom, HTA and Rediffussion. Phadnis joined TV Audience Measurement [TAM] as Director, S-Group in early 2002 quitting Starcom as Media Director.
- Atul Phadnis, Director - S-Group, TAM - 10/1/2002
An ardent bridge player, a producer, a writer and a teacher - one could go on and on about Amit Khanna. Khanna has a wide lineage- he has worked in theatre, radio, television, journalism, advertising and films. He has been on the executive committee of IBF, Indian Music Industry, and Film Federation of India. He set up Plus Channels in '90s and quit in 2000 to launch Reliance Entertainment with Reliance. Khanna the Chairman of the Convergence Committee of FICCI. And also he is the Member of the Core Group of Ministry of I&B, on GATS and Ministry of Commerce. His contributions and association is a long list.
- Amit Khanna, Chairman, Reliance Entertainment - 9/16/2002
Unless media independents enlarge their scope and act as clear partner with the brand both in terms of efficiency in planning and providing actual savings, they will not be heard or seen by practical clients
- V.Balasubramanium, National Director, ATG - 8/19/2002
exchange4media has been calling me for my Viewpoint, but like a true advertising person, I have no time! So I decided to write it in sleep (if you can walk in sleep why can't you write in sleep?) If it hurts your sensibility or you disagree with my views, please disregard this as a piece of junk - because I know it is impossible to pour water in a glass full of water - to give gyan to advertising gyanis.
- Amit Ray, VP-Media Services, Mudra - 7/24/2002
"How does a media professional go about seducing his two primary constituents; the client & the client's customers?"
- Sai Nagesh, GM, Maximize - 7/8/2002
Creating Media Assets
- CVL Srinivas, COO-North&South, Madison Media - 6/24/2002


"The views expressed are personal views of the author and not necessarily represent the views of the organisation author works for or of exchange4media.com."

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