Why omnichannel has become the key to success for brands

Day 2 of India Brand Conclave: Panel discussion with Bhavana Mittal, Bharat Kataria, Channan Sahwney, Priti Murthy, Pawan Sarda, Rajeev Dhal and Anuj Kumar

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 5:40 PM
IBC panel

The 4th edition of the India Brand Conclave saw an insightful panel discussion on the topic ‘Role of Omnichannel Targeting to Build Effective Brand Connections in this Multi-Screening World. The esteemed panellists talked about holistic audience targeting both online and offline and discussed how brands are leveraging the blend of offline and online channels.

The panellists were Bhavana Mittal, Head of Media & Digital, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Bharat Khatri, Country Lead, Xaxis India; Channan Sahwney, Head Digital Marketing & Media, Johnson & Johnson; Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD; Pawan Sarda, Group Head- Digital, Marketing & e-commerce, Future Group, and Rajeev Dhal, Chief Revenue Officer, Zee5. The session chair was Anuj Kumar, Co-Founder, Chief Revenue & Operating Officer, Affle.

Opening the session by talking about some of the omnichannel practices that brands have adopted, Mittal shared her experience with Spencer’s. “During Covid, it was a testing time and we realized that we need to amp up our game in order to adapt to this. We had our app and 200+ retail stores, but at that time, our app was seeing a lot of traction, so the app was given more importance than the stores at that time. We tied up with flipkart, we tied up with delivery services like Rapido and Uber. Earlier our delivery services were fairly limited, these tie-ups helped us build a seamless consumer experience. We saw a double digit growth as compared to a single digit growth,” Mittal said.

Sahwney also shared her experience at Johnsons & Johnson with adoption of omnichannel. “For us, one of our portfolios is premium beauty, Nutrogena. We speak a lot about giving the right experience about it. There is  a lot of advice provided by the brand about skin, the regime and all of that online, but the demos are done in the stores with the sales assistants who are trained to answer the queries. We are there every step of the way, right from search, to the website and even Instagram, so that the experience is seamless.”

Sharing insights on combating the challenges of marketing digitally for a company that is largely more offline retail, Sarda said “First, I would pick the entire idea of omnichannel. I think Covid has made omnichannel true. It has made businesses think about how the online and offline needs to be merging together at the supply side and demand side both. On the supply side, the first thing that we did is integrating our supply side. Each of the stores and touchpoints could then play the role of a supply chain. The other side is the demand side. One of the biggest campaigns that we run is with Google. We do a lot of couponing with that. We get to know the larger intent base and work with that on social media as well.”

Talking about how important is it to own the data for an agency to work with a platform, Murthy said “There are different types of advertisers, some have very rich first party data, so we work directly with the second party players, or directly with the third party. We also have players who are at the initial stage of their offering and we are heavily reliant on the third party data. As agencies, we need to partner with the client to own the data at their end too and strengthen the first party. At the same time, we work with a lot of plug-n-play for omni. That empowers us to work with data while also allowing for the confidentiality of the client. Most agencies would also create their own backend data, and the plus about omni is that it is protected, it is plug-n-play and it is cutomized to the client. ”

Elaborating on challenges around unifying audience persona based on what they are doing online and they might be doing offline, Kataria shared “When it is about D2C brands, there is a lot of information about the consumer that the brand has as a first party and it gets very seamless and easy to integrate that sort of proxies about consumers. But when it comes to the brick and mortar primarily, let’s say some of the brands in the FMCG vertical, where there is still a challenge to understand about their consumer, their are new proxies which are developing, and one of them which most of our client portfolios use significantly during this Covid was that they were able t0 map the data points of pre-Covid offline retail sales. Using that information from offline, we were able to map it on the online targetting and we were driving the consumer from the top funnel to the bottom funnel.”

Sharing insights on the importance and impact of omnichannel and multiscreening as an OTT platform for content consumption, Dhal said “We’ve experienced people are consuming content on three platforms in a single session i.e. within a gap of 2-3 hours. They mostly discover content on first screen which is mobile, then they move on to a laptop or a tablet, which is a slightly larger screen. We know this also due to the current Covid scenario but we hope that multi-screening will continue. They finally move on to a large screen which is connected TV. In two years, if all goes well, 50% of urban India would have converted to connected TV. We have 50-60 live TV channels, while we do offer replacement of ad pod with targetted ad pod, it’s very small scale. When connected TV becomes 50%, we’ll be replacing linear TV ad pod with targetted. We are also working towards also solving attribution about what worked and what didn’t for a company. Multi-screening for us and muti-channel for advertisers is not going to turn back, it’s here to stay and not much is going to change.”

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