‘If there is one place where brands can build loyalty & advocacy, it is social media'

Twitter India's Business Head Kanika Mittal and Brand Strategy Head Rishabh Sharma speak on associations with brands, OTT players and more

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Published: Sep 13, 2019 8:10 AM  | 6 min read



Twitter has not only brought brands face to face with the consumer but is also helping them build loyalty and brand recall in a unique and innovative fashion. In a conversation with exchange4media, Twitter India's Business Head Kanika Mittal and Brand Strategy Head Rishabh Sharma share how the platform is building conversations and communities keeping both the consumer and brands at the centre. 


 How has the journey been so far for Twitter in India? 

Kanika: Twitter in India is in the best shape or form that it has ever been. It is beautifully positioned as a nucleus platform to connect with what's happening. It's no longer just a social media platform. Brands and advertisers see clear value in associating with Twitter's leaned-in and influential audience. So, I would say that we are a priority market across the globe. We are in a high growth space, and more and more advertisers across different verticals are very active on Twitter at the moment.

How are brands using the platform and what formats do you offer?

Kanika: Twitter today is the go-to place for two keys things, one is to launch and the other is to connect. What launch really means is whenever a brand has a new campaign, a new product or product upgrade, a key message or anything even around thought leadership or purpose-led marketing, the first place they want to come and talk about it is Twitter. Conversations on Twitter create a halo effect for the brand and help them get the much-needed buzz during the launch phase. And then the Twitter team works with these brands in multiple ways to make sure they're prepared for the launch.

The other thing that Twitter is doing beautifully is the whole connect with what's happening. Twitter is a place where topics are trending. I think all key passion points that this country lives and breathes in are all on Twitter. Brands have basically realised that and they come onto the platform so that they can ride the surge, which has created their connect with happening moments.

It would be interesting to discuss the landscape of Twitter. The first thing is video. Twitter has a unique positioning when it comes to video. Not only is your video being served out to a very linked-in and influential audience, but it is also potentially delivering much more recall. The second is engagement. We have brilliant products that drive engagement in a beautiful way. People end up interacting with brands in a lovely fashion. These include media polls, conversation cards and Tweet engagement that allow brands to take a pulse check on what the consumer is feeling. The third pillar that is most exciting as a revenue lead is what we offer in terms of customised and innovative solutions. Whenever a person gives a heart to Tweet or an RT to a Tweet, it can lead to a world of things, and when marketers discover that, they love it. We work with our tech partners to make sure we can put together innovation that is India first, industry-first and get launches traction on Twitter.

Why is Twitter so popular for moment marketing?

Kanika: There are three reasons. First, Twitter is the only platform where trending dialogues begin. The very fact that it’s not a friends & family platform but a public and conversational platform is the reason why we have been so successful in making sure key moments are anchored on Twitter and they reach their tipping point on Twitter. The key difference is a razor-sharp commitment on being a public & conversational platform that allows a consumer to take his voice to the public at large and find advocates and promoters that he or she doesn’t even know personally. This unique feature about Twitter helps to create these moments.

Secondly, moment-led marketing from a brand perspective is becoming big on Twitter because conversations are moving from being vertical- top to bottom- to being horizontal that is one is to one.

Thirdly, the inherent nature of Twitter allows for rich and quality engagement. The experience around the product allows for more and more users to participate, which then gives better ROIs to brands, thereby encouraging them to come back.

Risabh: Moment marketing allows brands to own a voice and have a human persona, which is more and more important, and that is where we are uniquely positioned. Just the idea that you can have the opportunity to talk with the audience rather than talking at them is predominantly why brands today flock to the timeline on Twitter.

How successful has the association with Twitter been for OTT platforms?

Risabh: If you look at where we are in terms of digital India and how entertainment is being consumed, the scenario has drastically changed. As much as OTT has given people the convenience to watch anything anywhere, it has also given us the convenience to switch off any content that we don’t like. And that’s why Twitter has become such an influential platform to not just launch but also sustain the conversation. And when it comes to entertainment, if you look beyond the brands, you have the publishers, the stars, and the fans of the shows on the platform. This ability for the brand to see and enter every set of conversation is very unique and that’s where the association has peaked up.

All of us today have different locations when we watch different shows on different platforms, whether its Netflix, Prime, Voot, Hotstar, Voot, MX Player or Zee5. We have partnerships with all of them. Even OTT players are seeing Twitter as a platform to launch as well as connect. It’s not just about the first impression, it’s also about how they create anticipation. We all know that the shelf life for a show is over a year today. So it’s even more important you are there having a conversation with the fans because not everyone watches the show when you launch it. It can actually be after 90 days and that’s when our beyond-launch narrative comes in.

How important is social media in the digital advertising landscape?

Kanika: I can confidently say if there is one place where we can build loyalty, advocacy and community for your brand is social media. No other advertising format will allow you what social media will allow you to do in terms of a loyal base of consumers. You are interacting with them and you are doing things with them, which help them to convert from consumers to advocates. The whole community marketing piece is going to be so big in the future that it will replace what influencer marketing is doing today. At Twitter, we feel extremely proud that we are leading the pack when it comes to all of these things.

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