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Digital is not a medium, but a phenomenon, say experts

08-March-2010
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Digital is not a medium, but a phenomenon, say experts

Bangalore was part of a stimulating conversation on the topic ‘Harnessing the power of the web: Building brand and digital sales’. The discussion was part of the 9th Digital Roundtable, which was conducted by eBay, in association with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), on March 5, 2010.

On the panel were an interesting mix of people, including Neeraj Chandra, Vice-President and COO, Britannia Industries Ltd; Rahul Agarwal, Executive Director, Global Marketing Communications and Hub, Lenovo; Aditya Nath Jha, Head, Global Brand and Communication, Infosys Technologies; Kiran Gopinath, Founder and CEO, Ozone Media Solutions Pvt Ltd; and Unny Radhakrishnan, National Director - Digital, Maxus Global. The session was moderated by Ambareesh Murty, Country Manager, eBay India & Vice Chairman, IAMAI.

The discussion started with the basic question – how has life changed for companies courtesy the web? Murty pointed out that one of the biggest changes probably was that because of digital, research was now available real time, which the companies could make use of.

Jha added, “Digital media has given a platform to engage with the consumers and leverage in fields where there were no options available to them earlier, such as packaging, pricing and distribution. It also gives flexibility to the marketers as the cost of experimentation is low on the Internet. Most importantly, the medium forces the company to be good and behave well, as there is immense scrutiny, conversation and accountability that this medium brings.”

Gopinath stressed, “Marketers need to have a digital strategy and think through it at length. Web can be used for brand building and for relevance, where one can relate to the brand’s persona more effectively.”

When asked why the spends on the digital medium were low despite digital being touted as the future of communication, Chandra of Britannia remarked, “Digital is not a medium, but a phenomenon, but we are trapped in applying conventional wisdom to this. Digital is a phenomenon for customisation and target-specific people. There is a difference in the business parameter when it comes to digital, and one must recognise this opportunity and use it thus.”

So, is web a niche medium? Agarwal of Lenovo commented, “It’s not niche as the value of Internet with transaction and commitment differs for different organisations. Criticality of the web is that here the customers seek the marketers. So, reaching these customers becomes important by listening to them and engaging them.”

RadhaKrishnan summed it aptly when he said, “Digital brings value to the consumers. Another truth is that now the marketing department is not the only stakeholder of a brand, other departments like technology and packaging need to be involved. After all, digital is about the complete brand experience.”

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