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I believe in the criticality of owning the message : Ritesh Ghosal

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I believe in the criticality of owning the message : Ritesh Ghosal

In a conversation with exchange4media, Ritesh Ghosal, Head – Brand Marketing, Tata Teleservices, talks about Tata Docomo and elements of its various branding and marketing strategies, expectations from creative and media agencies, utilising social media to target youth and more…

With Docomo set to exit the JV, will there be rebranding in the future, if and when?

It’s early for me to talk about it since I haven’t been briefed on it yet. Telecom is an interesting category. We will see as and when it happens, as to what has to be done.

What are your expectations from your creative and media agencies, Contract and Mediacom?
On the creative side, we have created a brand through cutting edge storytelling and the expectation is to refresh the advertising narrative to create engaging storytelling for the youth.
For media, the challenge is to make the utilisation of the marketing budget more efficient.

What is the ad spend pie of Tata Docomo?

We don’t really work with a specific budget and nor am I allowed to share this information. But the way we plan media is basically we take our share of voice target category which is against the other telecom operators and try to stick to it over the course of the year.

How do you currently use social media for customer queries?

Social media serves different purposes for us, not just to resolve customer queries. It is one of the ways consumers try to reach us for resolutions.
The purpose of social media is quasi- activation. Unlike advertising which is a one-way communication, social media allows engagement on a two-way basis. Firstly the purpose is to tell customers about our product, secondly is to solve their queries and thirdly to do e-commerce, which is taking orders and delivering the product at the doorstep. We are the only operator who runs direct to doorstep e-commerce.

The team that manages Facebook connects with the customer care team to handle responses in real time.

Tell us about the new TVC
The new TVC for Photon Wi-Fi is for the product we launched October last year in a couple of markets and scaled up to a national launch. The product allows internet connection through an electric circuit. It can go into a laptop as well as a socket to create a Wi-Fi zone. The key benefit is wherever there is an electrical circuit, you can create a Wi-Fi zone. The TVC brings this out in a quirky manner.

What is your regional marketing strategy and how different is it from the competitors?

The difference is that since we are a smaller brand we try to create an argument which can get people to switch from their current operator to us. We may have circle specific strategy but we typically have propositions which are unified across the country. Catch the prospect closer to the category is the purpose of local marketing. So we work on what will we do inside retail, near retail and at the retail counters. So instead of large advertising we focus where the catchment lives and shops.

How will you leverage social media in the future?
Digital is an arena that is changing every three or four months. A year ago, it would not even feature as a creative medium. From the beginning, Tata Docomo has been focused on the youth and we are at the forefront of finding ways of utilising social media. Today Facebook has become more of an advertising medium than engagement medium. We use social media to converse with our core target audience, the youth. We work with experts in social media to spot trends early and work with those trends.

Any takeaways for brand heads..
One needs to keep an eye on the target audience and make the cornerstone of all strategies, for media, messaging, products, etc.

The criticality of owning the message is something I have discovered over a period of time. It’s very easy to get lost in fancy story telling or trying to look for a more spectacular narrative but the brand manager’s job is to really own the message and the rest is finding the right guys to work with you.

Ritesh Ghosal has over 18 years of experience across brand management, business leadership, advertising, and consumer insight. A post graduate from IIM Bangalore, Ghosal has worked with companies such as Millward Brown, Bharti Retail, Coca-Cola India, Reckitt Benckiser and IMRB International.

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