Gear up for the latest edition of the exchange4media Conclave

The theme for the September 24 event is Creativity First: Brand Engagement in the Connected Era. Stephen Allan, Chairman & CEO, MediaCom; Charles Frump, MD, Volvo Auto India, to be keynote speakers

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Sep 16, 2019 4:00 PM
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For 19 years now the exchange4media Conclave has served as the platform of choice for decision-makers in the media and advertising industry to discuss trends that assist them in growing the overall business.  The Conclave is now back with its next edition slated to take place on September 24 at Taj Santacruz, Mumbai.

This year, Stephen Allan, Worldwide Chairman & CEO, Mediacom, and Charles Frump, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India, will be the keynote speakers and Stephen Li, CEO APAC at OMD Worldwide, and Sudhir Sitapati, Executive Director, Foods & Refreshment at Hindustan Unilever, will be joining as Headline Speakers.

Sandeep Aggarwal - Founder & CEO, Droom, will also be taking stage at the Conclave, decoding customer-centered marketing trends and challenges that are fuelling the automotive industry.

In the past, eminent speakers like Tamara Ingram, Global Chairman, Wunderman Thompson; Sir Martin Sorrell,  Executive Chairman, S4 Capital; Tim Andree, CEO, Dentsu Inc, among others, have graced the event.

With consumers today becoming the architects of their own hyper-personalized empires, how can forward-thinking brands managers and agencies embrace creativity in this connected world? Keeping this in mind, the theme of the Conclave  is ‘Creativity First: Brand Engagement in the Connected Era.’

We asked thought leaders to deconstruct what it takes to be on the top of the brand engagement game in this connected era. Here’s what they had to say:

Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman and CEO, FCB India:

There is no doubt about that consumers choose, build and destroy. This is undoubtedly ‘the consumer is king’ phase. What brands, agencies and marketers need to recognise is it that what connects with them in the new reality. Trust is being eroded in a new way. Consumers don’t trust advertising or any kind of company-sent broadcast.

In this scenario, what’s emerging is influencers. They listen to what these people have to say. How to harness that from a brand perspective is an area to tap into, in order to tick the right boxes of brand engagement in the connected era. Technology, messaging and how that has to be done is where creativity in communication will come in. The key is to be authentic and truly serve consumer need. Today there is a trust deficit that brands need to address by being transparent about their own products. Another aspect that brands must bear in mind is on how access is democratised these days. It’s not limited by geography anymore. Today virtual malls are available even before a consumer physically engages with a brand. So a lot of aspirations and imagery that brands need to cater to and how to communicate this comes into play.

Raghu Bhat, Founder & Copywriter, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi:

The connected era can herald a new story telling era. It is not just about connected screens delivering customised sales messages but about a single story starting with a screen but moving forward - through online and offline. When Sunil Chhetri told fans to support Indian football through an online post, they turned up in thousands at the stadium and then shared their experience online — is a great example of a story unfolding in a connected era. Brands can learn from content companies. DC comics released comic books to educate audiences about various characters who were to appear in the upcoming movie.  

Devendra Deshpande, Head-Business and Growth, Friday Filmworks:

Brands Chase consumers, consumers chase content. Consumers are the common point. Good content like water, takes the shape of the container which in this case is the medium and hence brands needs to be adaptable/flexible to fit into the medium of narrative. For example, the same concept/ story on television will be different to that on YouTube, to that on a popular blog (text) and to that on a podacst (audio medium).

Rule no 1: Brands need to see one story through different lens.

Rule no 2: As lens change, so do influences and hence what works in television will not work on digital.

Rule no 3: Adapting to moments is as critical as adapting to mediums. Leveraging topical moments of conversation (Chandrayaan) requires advanced planning to be implemented real time.

Rule no 4: Faith in the partner/ storyteller is important. Brands codes need to be told in the language of the storyteller and most times it's the other way round which soils the consumer experience.

Rule no 5: Metrics need to be long term.... Too many times in the zeal to chase instant success, metrics are tweaked and compromised. Every story will not be a success but as a part of long term strategy it will contribute to engagement.

Rule no 6: Commit... Don't flirt. Think long term.                           

Rahul Marwaha, Vice President - Media activation, India, Essence:

 Consumers and brands are increasingly co-creating marketing content. In turn, brands are looking to online social marketing programmes and campaigns, in an effort to reach consumers where they ‘live’ online. 

However, while brands recognise the need to be active on social media, they may not always understand how to measure its effectiveness and the performance indicators they should be measuring. To make it even more complicated, brands sometimes develop independent social media or campaign strategies for individual platforms. In the connected era, it is important to align a brand's marketing communications strategy not to individual platforms, but to a defined marketing goal with measurable metrics. 

Atul Garg, Marketing Head, Baggit:

The world today is ultra-connected and the challenges for brands to engage are just becoming trickier. There is a need of giving personalised, contextualised, real-time communication and brand-promise delivery to the end consumers. So there is an immense marriage of marketing with technology-martech to bring control to the entire human experience. Don’t just acquire customers but enable consumer experiences across touch-points which are virtually similar but at the same time are connected with data. So the entire learning, the customer backbone is based on the preferences and probably the behaviour, needs, psychographics to tailor the content to deliver across platforms. Understanding the consumer and creating communication that is brand-driven so that relevant segments can be created is of essence. Also somewhere the brand needs to own what they are saying.

Jivesh Gupta, COO, One Impression:

In the past few years, technology has made substantial progress in different ways, ranging from bringing hundreds of millions of new users to the connected world, unparalleled personalisation of experiences using Artificial Intelligence to breaking language as a barrier. This has opened doors for people to interact within the connected world in completely new ways.

Many brands and businesses struggle to understand how these trends are shaping and can be best leveraged. The first and foremost aspect of this era is to deep dive into your brand and consumers to understand which platform is most suitable to reach out to your target audience.

The next would be to create a content strategy that’s personalised and further establishes a ‘connect’ with your consumers, including creating content in different languages, formats like videos or photos. Once you have that model ready, it is imperative to be a proactive member of this connected world – keeping a constant touch by sharing interesting stories, building a community of loyalists, so you are always on the top of the minds of all your consumers.

The idea in a nutshell is to touch your customer, where they are, in a way to grab their attention and communicate a compelling story about your brand in a language they are most comfortable with.

This way, brands can win the game of brand engagement and can really cut through the noise.

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