Home >> Digital >> Article

Guest Article: The Digital Dilemma

24-August-2011
Font Size   16
Guest Article: The Digital Dilemma

The digital dilemma – this is the predicament plaguing the brand managers today. In the last few months, I have met many brand and marketing managers and a majority of them confessed that this digital goblin is stuck in their throats like an albatross. Not to mention, it is also forced onto them from the top without clear goals and objectives. Because of this unclear agenda, the branding executives are wary of this monster and “at the drop of a hat” are taking the time tested digital route without experimenting too much on innovations.

We need to understand two basic premises of digital: that digital is not a logical addendum to TV and print; that it should never be used for reach and frequency. In the online space, ‘display impressions’ are quite analogous to ‘reach’ in the traditional sense. We need to stop believing that more impressions are tantamount to more reach. The abysmal CTR (0.1%), the high bounce rate should spark a thought in all of us – Let us not use digital medium as we have been using TV and Print for ages. There is a reason why we call digital as “New Age Media” – Digital enables one to have a two way communication unlike any of the other communication mediums. We should base our digital brand objectives based on this cornerstone.

Based on my interaction with many brand managers, brand executives, and marketing professionals I have attempted to put brands in India into 3 categories – Novice, Advanced Beginner and Expert.

Novice:
Quite a few brands have recently taken steps to embrace digital. Unfortunately, these are brands which have joined the digital bandwagon just because everyone else is doing so. Much to my amazement, a lot of brands in this category do not even have a website of their own. Instead, they want to piggyback on the Facebook craze by creating brand pages. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some glaring facts of Facebook which all brand managers should be aware of. Firstly, 30 per cent of Facebook profiles are fake and redundant. Secondly, there is a segmented bunch of users who relentlessly keep on “liking” all and sundry Facebook pages. A brand Facebook page may have a million fans, however, only 1 per cent of that number participate in any of the contests the brand organises. This fact not only ratifies my earlier observation but also increases the Facebook user acquisition cost by a multiple of 100.Thirdly, Facebook conversations (though user generated content) are private and hence do not help the brands to increase their organic search ranking in any way.

Advanced Beginner:
Most of the brands fall in this category. In here, all the house-keeping activities are well taken care of – brand website in place, roaring Facebook and Twitter pages buzzing with conversations etc. However, a well-defined objective of digital is still missing with “catch-all” goals such as running Facebook contests and creating Facebook welcome pages/apps grabbing preponderance of the activities. I have noticed that in this category, as part of digital media planning, many brands resort to social media agencies. And, there lies the biggest problem: We consider social media as a placebo for all digital evils. Social media (a much abused word these days) agencies are “dime-a-dozen” in India and choosing the right one has always been the toughest challenge. Furthermore, spending quite some time with these agencies has made me cognizant of their diabolical approaches to social media. On the contrary, I have also met few very competent social media agencies who understand this space threadbare. Question is “How can so few credible social media agencies serve a cauldron of brands?”

Expert:
A handful of brands fall in this category; brands which understand the digital landscape well and have done the right things. While researching about these brands one common theme stood out – These brands are using digital to engage meaningfully with consumers in a true crowdsourcing style. Their motto is to “Remain in close proximity to the users through digital” by not forcing redundant information down their throats but by using the concepts of engagement advertising, appointment advertising and incentivised brand engagement.

PS: Though I have followed Internet and digital for the last 10 years in USA, Europe and in India, I am not an expert in this field and this article is primarily a summary of my observations of this space.

(Surjendu Kuila is the Co-founder of Brandandme.com. He has spent most of his professional life in the US, working for startups. Kuila holds a B.Tech degree from IIT, Roorkee and an MBA from IIM, Calcutta.)

Kartikeya Sharma says that June has been the best month for sales in the 11 years that the brand has been in India

The newly appointed CEO of ZEE5 on how he aims to have the widest appeal in the OTT space amongst Indian consumers

The VP, Marketing and Communications (South Asia), talks about the company's growth strategy, its focus areas, impact of demonetisation on consumer behaviour and much more

Siju Prabhakaran, South Cluster Head, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, talks about channel's rebranding, extending fiction shows to weekends and much more

right
left
RADIO CITY CELEBRATES ITS 17TH ANNIVERSARY WITH CONCERT, AWARDS AND FUN 5TH EDITION OF TIMES NOW & ICICI BANK’S NRI OF THE YEAR AWARDS GLOBAL INDIANS PITCH CMO SUMMIT BENGALURU SEES TOP INDUSTRY LEADERS AND MARKETERS IN ATTENDANCE DISTINGUISHED JURY COMES TOGETHER TO PICK WINNERS FOR PITCH’S TOP 50 BRANDS PITCH CMO SUMMIT BANGALORE SEES TOP CMOS ACROSS INDUSTRIES IN ATTENDANCE 1ST REPUBLIC TV GULF INDIAN LEADERSHIP SUMMIT & AWARDS HONOUR STALWARTS OF INDIAN GULF BUSINESS COMMUNITY SONY YAY! CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY WITH PARTY FOR TRADE PARTNERS THOUGHT LEADERS AND TOP DIGITAL MARKETERS SPEAK @ EXCHANGE4MEDIA GROUP’S TECHMANCH 2018 IN MUMBAI EXCHANGE4MEDIA’S IDMA 2018 RECOGNIZES INDUSTRY’S BEST DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS REALTY PLUS UNVEILS COFFEE TABLE BOOK AT 10TH CONCLAVE & EXCELLENCE AWARDS @AHMEDABAD EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK WINNERS OF INDIAN DIGITAL MARKETING AWARDS 2018 OFF THE CUFF SEES ‘SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN’ MAN PARAMESWARAN IYER IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEKHAR GUPTA EXCHANGE4MEDIA’S LOUDEST.IN HOSTS INAUGURAL EDITION OF MUSIC INC. IN MUMBAI EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS PORTER PRIZE & INSTITUTE FOR COMPETITIVENESS RECOGNIZE STRATEGIC ACUMEN IN COMPANIES DELHI AD CLUB-SAARC AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE EXCELLENCE ACROSS CREATIVE, MEDIA & DIGITAL AGENCIES BSNL & CALL2ACTION COMMUNICATION INDIA LAUNCH MOBILE ADVERTISING PLATFORM, INFOMO IN NEW DELHI CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST KAILASH SATYARTHI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘EVERY CHILD MATTERS’ SENIOR JOURNALIST VIJAY TRIVEDI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘YADA YADA HI YOGI’ BASED ON YOGI ADITYANATH EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS

With this partnership, Eros Now further enhances its distribution to the larger screen in India and then across Asia

The agency strengthens its portfolio winning the accounts of Lactalis Group’s Anik range, Germany’s Baby Sebamed, Wagh Bakri - Mili Tea, and brands from Emami Group

Sachin Jain says India is the third biggest market for the diamond brand, contributing 35% to its global business