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Quick five with Talenthouse India’s Arun Mehra

04-December-2012
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Quick five with Talenthouse India’s Arun Mehra

Brands in 2012 have adopted various interesting medium for their marketing initiatives. Crowdsourcing has got its share of recognition this year. From logo design to generating television commercials, brands have tried their hand at crowdsourcing it all.

Cost effectiveness is not only the reason why brands have opted for crowdsourcing, bringing in freshness in communication elements is another focussed purpose that is making brands look at this process.

In conversation with exchange4media, Arun Mehra, CEO, Talenthouse India throws light on the trend of crowdsourcing in Indian brands.

How has crowdsourcing evolved? What are the key trends in the area?
Crowdsourcing’s popularity in recent times grew with ‘knowledge’ crowdsourcing where people began relying on websites such as wikipedia for getting information on any topic. Content on Wikipedia has been put in by common people. Crowdfunding then emerged with sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. providing collective funds from masses for projects to come alive. Marketers realised that in order to stay top-of-mind, constant consumer conversations and involvement with the brand was imperative. Creativity as a genre has mass appeal as everyone considers themselves to be talented. That’s how the concept of creative crowdsourcing emerged.

Bollywood recently has also tried its hands at crowdsourcing. Filmmakers such as Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Vipul Shah have used Talenthouse to tap the smallest of towns for script writers. Choreographer Rajeev Surti used the platform to search for an assistant for his film projects. I see many filmmakers reaching out to the masses as creativity and talent can stem from anyone, anywhere.

Have the economic conditions impacted crowdsourcing?
Brands want to constantly engage with their audiences; in fact nine out of the top 10 global brands are undertaking crowdsourcing initiatives. Tight marketing budgets due to the slowdown have enabled brands to look at smarter, cost-effective solutions to crowdsource content.

Over the last three months, the ratio of clients coming on-board vis-à-vis the number of pitches made is 1:3 as compared to what it was earlier i.e. 1:6. This clearly suggests the growing need amongst marketers in India to undertake initiatives that are not only proven to be successful but also cost effective.  So while slowdown has been a catalyst, smart ‘early-adopter’ marketers have understood the value platforms such as Talenthouse can provide them with.

What are kinds of brands that are choosing crowdsouring for marketing projects?
Crowdsourcing is being used by almost all industries today. DARPA (US Government) is using crowdsourcing for new spy drone designs, whereas scientists are using it to understand earthquake patterns.

In India, the rupee symbol was the first biggest crowdsourcing initiative. In the case of brands, any brand that wants to engage with its audiences or requires relevant content for its audiences to consume (maybe on social media) or is are genuinely searching for creative talent approach us.

Micromax took its crowdsourced logo and adopted it as its brand logo. They had come to us to not only search for an appropriate logo design but to also understand how consumers perceive the brand. Today, it’s on all their phones as well as on each and every communication.

Interestingly, more brands are coming back to us after seeing the benefits of the model.
Majority of brands, when it comes to crowdsourcing, look for videos, designs or music as genres to engage with their consumers. Brands such as Axe, Johnson & Johnson, Bacardi, Cinthol, etc. have thrown open viral video creative invites. Even brands from niche categories – travel and tourism – such as Club Mahindra, Goibibo have resorted to video crowdsourcing. Pepsi, on the other hand, crowdsourced its 2012 calendar designs. Nerolac and Big FM remixed its signature tune through us. 

What are the five things that make a crowdsourcing project a hit?
Simplicity of the creative invite:
Any company getting into crowdsourcing needs to know what it wants out of it. The simpler the task given, the higher is the number of participations that will come in. Briefs are better when they are open-ended. When the ‘crowd’ gives a brand 100 entries, the brand will get at least 10 great ones. Twenty other entries might have interesting ideas but could be lacking in one area or the other.
Gratification: Most people participating on such projects are aspiring artists and one observation is that a monetary reward is something that translates to higher levels of participation.
Duration of the project: Artists need a considerable amount of time to fabricate an idea basis the creative brief given and bring it to life. An ideal duration for participation in such projects is approximately eight weeks. This includes the time taken to reach out to relevant artists and create awareness of the project.
Targeted outreach: The biggest success of a project depends on the amount of significant content it generates. Talenthouse has strategic tie-up’s with 300 plus creative schools across the country. Every project is treated like an individual marketing campaign and our outreach team communicates and procures entries from schools relevant to the creative invite. We also have an existing base of 70,000 artists on social media who we regularly interact with for new projects hosted by us.
Technology: The uniqueness of Talenthouse is that it engages socially with audiences in their own language. The moment a person registers and uploads an entry on Talenthouse, there is a message that goes out to all his friends on Facebook that he has participated in a project for a particular brand on Talenthouse. For example, if you’re a writer, 40 per cent of your friends on Facebook are writers too or belong to the same industry. The moment they notice that their friend is taking part in a project of interest to them, they too want to participate. After the submission period, voting begins; while the voting is on, the writer goes back to his friends and gets them to vote for him. Once someone votes, the project is posted on their Facebook page. This creates a viral effect. So every artist can bring in at least 5,000 engagements on Facebook – a big value for brands given that its audiences become its brand advocates. Crowdsourcing is a reality the world over.

Please elaborate on the project that you will be doing for Zodiac?
ZOD is undoubtedly one of the leading brands in its segment and we are extremely excited to partner with the brand. Zodiac is in search for an exciting TV commercial script that would depict the brand values for ZOD Club Wear. Participants have to keep in mind ZOD’s differentiated, trendy and fashionable style statement and create a script in accordance with the brand image. With youngsters eager to catch a break in the advertising world, this is a huge opportunity to make it big and get noticed. Through this crowdsourcing activity, we are certain to find scripts that will enhance ZOD’s brand image.

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