Wherever Consumers Go…

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Vinish Kathuria, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Quotient

Vinish Kathuria, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Quotient

Before the dawn of Internet, brands would woo consumers through traditional tools such as newspaper or TV advertisements, store-displays, and pamphlets or by merely word-of-mouth. We now live in a digital world with a greater than ever array of digital devices and platforms. Today, the ways in which we interact, shop and explore the world around us have been considerably altered by technological developments. The evolved consumer behavior due to digital evolution – is an important aspect to be analyzed by marketers that demands newer approach for building and delivering products. It doesn’t matter if you are a heritage brand or a modern niche brand, everyone must adapt to the digital ecosystem.

Wherever consumers go, companies & brands must follow. Retail Industry adapted to this changed environment very swiftly. Thus, churning better profits and connecting with larger consumer groups across the world. The e-commerce market is growing at an average annual rate of 34% since 2009 according to a 2013 report on e-commerce by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG.

With the numbers of Indian digital consumers projected to cross 240 million by the end of this month. It has become crucial for traditional players as well to jump on the digital bandwagon. Social networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are strongly coming to the forefront playing a navigation role that was traditionally dominated by search engines. Thus, the need today is for optimization of a brand or companies’ social channels as well rather than simply optimizing the traditional tools.

Recently, we witnessed an impressive shift where a traditional brand awakened to the power of digital. CenturyPly, the largest seller of multi-use plywood, laminates and decorative veneers in the Indian organized plywood market launched an aggressive interactive digital campaign. For the first time, CenturyPly launched a digital campaign before a TV campaign/print campaign, where the brand came up with a consumer friendly website, responsive with rich imagery and application based to create excitement amongst consumers who are now digitally active via mobiles & tabs. As their consumers and distributors increasingly started using smart phones in their daily lives, the company decided to be ahead of its peer group through launch of an integrated digital offering. CenturyPly is also the first one within this product category to have come up with an aggressive digital campaign.

Interestingly, CenturyPly operates in a category that is only 30 per cent organized. And since the last 6 years the brands key communication and positioning has been via TV campaigns highlighting the core functional benefits of strength and durability of CenturyPly products. For the first time the brand has given more preference to digital platform for engaging with its target audiences and consumers.

Also today while reading my daily dose of news digest, I came across another interesting news where an NGO, Care India, embraced the digital world and came up with a multi-platform campaign to connect with its target groups.

These moves towards adoption of digital media are perceptional shifts which do not happen overnight. These shifts are realized by witnessing how consumers and audiences are embracing technology and digital platforms. Thus, driven by consumer shift and further awareness of decision-makers and executive management teams to keep pace with changing times. As more young talents are roped in organization’s communications & creative teams (who are more digitally inclined), we are now witnessing traditional brands adopting modern methods of communications & advertising.

Apart from behavioral and perceptional shifts, another factor leading to fast adaptation to the digital eco-system by both modern and traditional players is cost-saving. As compared to other mediums like TV or Print, marketing & advertising on digital is far more affordable. It leads to cost savings in supply chain, increased visibility in operations, better customer services, newer offerings and easier to trace consumer purchasing behavior for marketing research.

Other key factors include the mobile evolution in India with 800 million plus users. What is interesting in last 12 months is the growing usage of internet on mobile, with mobile internet usage already exceeding desktop internet usage. India is already the 3rd largest Smartphone market globally. With these developments it becomes unavoidable for brands to stay away from stepping into the digital world.

The digital ecosystem also provides with plethora of newer ways to connect with audiences as it runs on innovation and engagement. Videos are definitely the next big thing! If you haven’t already realized the importance of engaging your target audiences you are already lagging behind. Traditional players in various segments are realizing this massive change and are now pulling up their sleeves to get into the game.

Moreover, it’s all about how well and impactful is a brand in engaging and connecting with the consumers. The days of monologues are gone, today is the era of creating dialogues with consumers. Integrated campaigns across platforms are far more effective in delivering brand’s message and creating recall amongst digitally 24×7 active audiences than isolated campaigns.

So, remember to follow consumers wherever they go…get on the digital bandwagon!

About the author / 

Neeta Nair

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