Brands get trendy being on social; use online influencers to grab eyeballs

The role of social media influencers is on the rise these days as brands increasingly count on them to generate conversation and grab eyeballs

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Published: Jun 3, 2016 8:06 AM  | 7 min read
Brands get trendy being on social; use online influencers to grab eyeballs

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is,” quoted Scott Cook, co-founder, Intuit. Rightly so, as the marketing power of social media grows, brands are increasingly launching unique and interesting social media campaigns, which help in generating conversation and grabbing eyeballs. Lately, brands like He Deodorants, Cinthol, Del Monte, Bajaj Avenger and BBlunt, have used social media to talk about their news campaigns and spread the news through online influencers.

When stand-up comedian Vir Das appeared in a quirky and humorous digital campaign for HE Deodorants, a lot of positive conversation was built around the brand.  Not only was the creative different, which took a dig at other brands objectifying women in their commercials, but it also continued to engage with the audience through hashtag and selfie contests.

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Playing on its price-quotient, Cinthol launched a unique social media activity for their new product ‘Deo Stick’ priced at Rs 69. Titled ‘The Deo Calculator’, the brand under the handle @GodrejCinthol posted a question enquiring about the price of Twitterati’s deodorant. With no media spends and zero production cost, the activity soon started trending. The activity generated 1.5mn impressions on the first day, with 2443 posts tracked for #DeoCalculator.

Del Monte’s recent digital campaign ‘DontbeaSucker’ featuring rapper Baba Sehgal even stood out because of its unique approach. The brand took a dig at their competition which is available in tetra pack formats and comes with a straw as against their cans.  “One of the main reasons for using digital is because we have been in the market for a while, but the awareness is less, so digital helps to efficiently target our audience. We have reached out to nearly 3+ million people in Delhi/NCR though this campaign. For a small brand like Del Monte, digital works better, as compared to TV, where we end up spending more than 5-6 times the amount,” said Anshu Anand, Head of Marketing, Del Monte India.

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A week before the IPL 9 finals, Bajaj Avenger launched a series of seven short videos with Vir Das where he spoke about ‘Cool ways to enjoy the weekend Final match (on May 29) at home’. From suggesting quirky options like missing the flight, to creating a ruckus at the airport, to doing garba while watching the match, the brand kept engaging with the online audience. It was only in the final video, that Das revealed he will be enjoying the finals by going on a ride on his Bajaj Avenger.

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Godrej’s hair care brand BBLUNT recently came up with a first-of-its-kind blogger featured music video which went viral in a short span of time. Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Varun Dhawan and others spoke about the bold and cheeky campaign which intends to spread awareness about their dry shampoo. The brand claims that the video has got over 20 per cent organic views so far.

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How effective are these initiatives?

We spoke to digital experts and asked them the effectiveness of these initiatives for the brands and also the importance of social influencers today.

Pratap Bose, Chairman and co-founder, The Social Street explains, “Today, a typical media mix comprises 40-50% of TV, 10-15% digital, 20-30% activations and only 10-20% print. The latest trend is young brands like Swiggy, Ola and others are using social media to create noise because it is a low cost method with a targeted reach. Also giving voices to stifled sections of the community especially women, LGBTQA and other oppressed members is a new found reason behind the brand wars to tap these online communities.”

 “Social media marketing requires consistency and long term planning. Marketing of the film ‘Baahubali’ started a year before the shoot with an audition campaign on social media platforms. Similarly, the movie Deadpool gained traction in an age of heroes using Tinder profiles and obscene emojis to gain the cool viral quotient. The challenge is how to balance the creative and viral appeal of social media platform with the brand recall. One may remember the angry cute baby video months down the line, but do you honestly remember which brand promoted it?” he questions.

Naresh Gupta, CSO, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle elaborates, “With the attention deficit millennial audience today, any brand’s desire is to stand out and be considered in the cluttered environment. The He Deo commercial with Vir Das for instance has been more written about than views on it. I don’t think social gives great reach than TV, but it definitely allows you to engage with audience at non-TV times. Social allows the surfer to see one ad, move on and keep doing what they are doing. The issue with social ads though is: they need to be really, really intrusive. Agencies are not trying to move away from TVC, they are just trying to be trendier by being on social.”

Adding to this, Debopriyo Chakraborty, Group Head – Strategy, Famous Innovations says, “Choice of media has become a lot more important in today’s time and age. With the advent of digital entertainment, there is a lot more available to consume and with a myriad of choices, it will only become the next battle ground for advertisers and marketers alike. The advent of Hungama, Netflix, Voot, Multi-Channel Networks (MCN) on YouTube all point towards this migration. What it hinges on is customised content that will be lapped up by the target group.However, brands will not be able to retrofit their offline strategy in the non-traditional space. Though traditional media will always deliver the highest unduplicated reach, the analytical-planning possibilities and metrics for the key performance indicators makes non-traditional media a desirable option.”

Importance of social media influencers:

Speaking about the importance of social media influencers for brands today, Neville Medhora- India Head, Rage Communications said, “The consumer has always been reaching out to (non-traditional) peer groups to know more and get an unbiased opinion of the brand. It’s not surprising that 90% of buyers trust peer groups over 33% trusting ads whether banner or traditional. 70% quote online reviews as a determining factor. Or the ‘1% rule’ comes in, where 1% of your brands’ social media followers actually share majority of the content (up to 20%). Sharing content through influencers increases conversation by at least 3 to 10 times! Consumers understand that at some level the advice handed out by influencers is crafted by their experiences with the brand. The danger however, comes when consumers start believing that the influencer has sold out and is promoting the brand rather than being an objective reviewer.”

Giving a fresh perspective, Bose points out, “Looking at how Snapchat was recently popularised courtesy Tanmay Bhat’s debate video on Lata and Sachin, one never knows what might fall back. Hence, piggybacking on influencer’s quotient requires a deep analysis and congruence between the brand gene and the influencer’s persona.”

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