Digital beyond Social: Innovate, Adapt, Offer Value...
Blyk India’s Antii Ohrling, Tribal DDB’s Max Hegerman, Lintas Media Group’s Sudha Natrajan and BCWebWise’s Chhaya Balachandran Aiyer deliberate on what the youth seek from brands while interacting through digital media.
Is digital marketing in the danger of entering into a rut? Despite the number of tools and vendors at the disposal of marketers today, the net result on the internet has a disappointing sameness. People are showing a lack of willingness to innovate and try new things, done partly through an incomplete understanding of the platform. However, in a panel discussion at the first Youth Media Summit in Delhi, experts showed that the future for digital remains bright, as long as people take the time to know why they are doing what they are doing.
According to Sudha Natrajan, President and COO, Lintas Media Group, one real issue is that people don't understand the kind of commitment of resources involved in successfully leveraging the web and particularly social media. She said, “Everyone wants to be on Facebook and Twitter. I've even heard people say that you don't need to run a company website, just create a Facebook page instead. But people can't answer what those ‘20,000 likes’ do for you. That is a question that people have not cracked yet.”
Antii Ohrling, Chairman, Blyk India, said that the problems to dealing with this issue are all internal and that unless companies form processes for dealing with such communication, they can't use social networks effectively.
Blyk, a mobile network which aims to be ‘exclusive’, has over 200,000 users on Aircel, has done some research into the interests of their user-base. Ohrling divulged, “We asked people what they were interested in and what made a brand cool. The top answer, more than double the nearest one, was that the brand should offer value for money. We asked them which brand ambassadors – athletes or movie stars - did they trust more. And the answer was interesting because they said cool brands did not need brand ambassadors. The conclusion here is that whether online or offline, young people are looking for things in a similar manner as the rest of us. If you can provide value, they will come.”
Chhaya Balachandran Aiyer, CEO and MD, BC WebWise, agreed and said, “The digital space requires constant innovation. You can't just sit back and rest on what you've done. But you need to keep in mind that gimmicks don't work. The audience is too intelligent, they have access to a lot of information and so you need to provide actual value.”
Max Hegerman, President, Tribal DDB, Max Hegerman, President, Tribal DDB, stated adaptability was the key to long-term survival. As the narrative has changed with time, brands no longer represent aspirations. Instead, they are about belonging. He noted, “Technology must continue to innovate. The new medium may not replace the likes of television but it is here to stay. Adapting and morphing in response to the audience is the key to longevity.”
Aiyer made an interesting point here. She said, “On social networks and the online space in general, there is no private space. Everything is public - you are going to generate responses and you must know how to deal with it. SEO and social marketing optimisation are not the only things you need to do. Agencies must create overall digital optimisation, which deals with all aspects of the online space.”
These discussions took place at the e4m Youth Marketing Summit on January 28, 2011 in New Delhi. The event was presented by UTV Bindaas and powered by Mudra Concrea in association with Tuborg.
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