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Social powers FMCG brands

24-January-2013
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Social powers FMCG brands

When we discuss the FMCG sector today, we see that consumers are provided with numerous choices in every shelf of every category. The days of only one-way communication have faded; they are very positively replaced by two-way communication in the social world. This in turn affected the decision making process of the consumers in a great way. Consumer behaviour is different now compared to what it was years ago.

Consumers’ today research, review and seek recommendations; analyse the post purchase experience, etc. before initiating any purchase. Their will to reach out to the brands directly and with ease has become easy with social media wherein the engagement and interactions lead to purchase decisions.

When leveraging an FMCG firm using social media, one should base it on few parameters such as core consumers, engagement, tracking the interactions about the brand, measuring the success of the brand in social media and most importantly the challenges faced by FMCG brand managers in the social space.
In order to identify the core consumers, FMCG brands should not think of segmenting their social media audience. Instead, they should try engaging with the existing customers irrespective of whether they are core or not and utilise social media tools to achieve the brand’s goals.

When you are planning a social media strategy for your FMCG brand, the initial step is listening to what your consumer has to say. Therefore, the social journey of your FMCG brand should always begin with social listening. This will build up a lot of possibilities that the brand can utilise to further strengthen the bond with its customers.

Analysing the interactions will help you gain a deeper insight into your consumer’s minds and their sentiments towards your brand. For a solid measurement of your return on investment, always keep a consistent eye on your competitor’s activities and structure your activities accordingly.

Social media facilitates FMCG brands to become more self expressive and stand out amongst the rest. Here are a few tips that FMCG brands should take up to market in social media:

Plan and implement your marketing activities to know what the consumers feel about your brand. Let them not only know about the brand, but understand it, relate to it.
Engage with your consumers. Try to reach out to their needs and directly connect with them.
Your marketing activities should be a part of your consumer’s lives. It should reach out to them to wherever they go as they are the ones who will initiate the final purchase.
Social media is more of a two-way communication. Do remember to ask questions to your consumers and get ideas.
Last but not the least; do not confuse social media with media. Both have a different approach and strategy.

Challenges
An effort needs to be taken by FMCG firms/brands to not just limit their strategies, thoughts and marketing activities to campaigns in social media, but to think beyond that. They need to structure ways in which the can use the social media tools to engage more consumers persistently.

There is a great potential for FMCG firms to create a mark through social media platforms. Moving ahead, viral videos, etc. can be great for an FMCG brand, but they might end up being recalled as a video or some game, but maybe not as a brand. Therefore, a strong consumer engagement through effective social media marketing on a regular basis sees greater prospects for the brand.

Social offers the FMCG marketers a direct access to the users of their products. Engagement of consumer with the brand gives an insight of what people actually want from the brand.

Well, there can be times when an FMCG brand has to face problems such as time consumption and signifying the return on investment followed by lower levels of commitment by the consumers, more likely occurring due to reduced brand resonance. In order to avoid or overcome these hurdles, FMCG brand managers need to focus on a certain principles to work successfully on social media:

Set goals
Clearly understand the social media tools
Set up metrics to measure success
Relate to the consumer
Discover influencers and invest in success
Flexible approach
Measure social media responses
Consistent interactions/conversations

FMCG firms need to monitor and analyse the insights of their brand’s social media presence on a regular basis. One has to keep a check on what consumers are talking online about their brand and their competitor’s. An essential social media strategy will help a brand to maintain its industry standards and stay on top.

Therefore, the most authentic part of any social media strategy shines when an FMCG brand manager takes care of certain parameters, namely:

Consumer insights: Examine the conversations happening about your brand and your competitor’s brand and plan your communication based on that.
Competitive analysis: Identify what your competitors are doing already and design your strategy to stand out as a stronger brand.
Customer service: Interact with your consumers, respond to their queries, enquiries, etc.
Track trends: Discover the trending topics regularly and track them for a better understanding of your communication strategy
Category research: A regular study of your product category will give you a larger picture of your presence in the same.
Crisis management: Stay well equipped to identify and respond to potential crisis circumstances.

A look at an exciting blend of information on the social of few FMCG brands:

Cadbury
With a focus to make everyday a celebration, Cadbury Dairy Milk went a long way to establish itself socially. When Pappu passed his exam, Cadbury came up with its ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye’ proposition followed by the ‘Shubh Aarambh’ one. It’s doing really well on social platform.

Maggi
The lip-smacking noodles delight, Maggi came up with the ‘Meri Maggi’ concept and reached out to the nation widely. Its tonality online is very generic, neutral and simple.

Nescafe
Nescafe India Facebook page’s communication is based on the ‘Shake it, Make it’ campaign.  Although the brand does not involve lot of things that can be spoken about but its online campaign and activities keeps a major consumer base hooked to the page. Nescafe on Pinterest works a lot in creating an interest in consumer’s minds regarding the brand.


Pepsi
Pepsi as a brand is more youthful, fun and exciting. Its presence on social is a well thought marketing strategy that incites the target audience to live the brand. It achieved great responses online which further helped them to structure their marketing strategy.


There rests a great potential for FMCG brands to explore social media platforms and leverage their brand identity. The rising competition in times to come will surely influence and encourage the FMCG sector to create a name in social world.

In the FMCG sector, a desire to be elevated on social media will always prevail, with the hits of yesterday transforming to the likes of today. What is essential is how you differentiate your brand and make it unique amid the brand clutter. As entrepreneurs and brand managers of FMCG firms, what challenges have you encountered in your social media marketing? How have you structured the social media plan for your FMCG brand? Is your social media strategy strong enough to facilitate a real time return on investment?

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