Since brands came into reckoning, branding was done through marketing activities across a slew of traditional media – print (newspapers, magazines), radio and television. Simultaneously, outdoor media was also used as an effective means to reach out to the prospective consumer. In the retail format, various signages in tandem with in-store marketing programmes are used to interact with consumers and guide them to make a purchase. With time, branding evolved to include direct marketing, in-film marketing and other forms of guerilla marketing to enable consumer connect.
In the recent times, the advent of newer technologies has led to several lifestyle changes. The Internet has become an integral part of one’s personal and professional life. In India, Internet penetration has nearly doubled from 3.7 per cent 2007 to 6.9 per cent in 2010. As consumers take to spending more time on the Internet, brands across industries are looking to reach out to them through carefully planned out online campaigns.
Kunal Jeswani, country head – India, OgilvyOne Worldwide – a global digital marketing agency, explains, “Almost all of the traditional media is still relevant. But, the new world has new devices, new environments within which consumers spend their time.” And these new environments are created with a specific focus to engage consumers through interactive means.
Krishna Prasad, chief experience officer, Dentsu Digital – an e-marketing company, outlines the advantages the online medium presents to marketers. “Marketers today cannot ignore the online medium as we see more and more affluent people getting online. Online has several advantages like reaching out to your target audiences with greater precision, cost of media is less expensive and time to launch a campaign is much shorter than other mediums,” he says.
But, the online medium does not work in isolation, at the risk of ignoring traditional media. In most cases, a brand opts to introduce its latest branding through traditional media while extending the same online.
Dentsu, for instance, recently launched a campaign for Canon IXUS camera, where the offline and online campaigns were synchronised. Says Prasad, “We ran the television commercial with some changes to adapt online and we had a very successful campaign.” In this online campaign, Canon IXUS has partnered with Windows Live Messenger online to promote its latest digital cameras, the IXUS 900 Ti and 850 IS, featuring perfect image with face detection features, using an integrated format. (see box)
OgilvyOne’s best examples are also not exclusive to the online medium. “Our best work comes alive when we understand the challenges brands face with their consumers and develop truly integrated campaigns to address them,” says Jeswani. The interactive digital campaigns for the Vodafone Zoozoos, Lipton Yellow Label and The Economist are all examples of digital engagement playing a defined role as part of the overall brand communication strategy. For instance, in case of Lipton, www.stay-sharp.in website has been created to support its claim that it contains theanine that helps keep the mind clear and sharp. This reaffirms the fact that for brands with large marketing spends, it is important to integrate the online and the offline campaigns for better results.
Independent campaigns as with any other medium can happen online, but, it is important to use the medium for the right reasons, for the benefit it provides, rather than use it simply because it is available. “If you do not need an animation to convey a specific message, keep away. You don’t need to have disruptive innovation to convey your brand message,” cautions Prasad.
The effectiveness of online branding often depends on the interactive quotient. Jeswani points out, “Interactivity is the cornerstone of all digital engagement.” In the online medium, a two-way channel is created for the brand and consumer to interact. It presents the consumer a change to voice his opinion, while the brand garners feedback. All of this helps in bettering product or service offering in a manner that is better suited to consumers.
The question that remains to be asked is this – Would it benefit an organisation to go virtual, and go virtual alone? Jeswani does not believe in the construct of online branding as against branding through traditional media. According to him, online media is relatively cheaper, more targeted, and therefore, more cost-effective than say television, but, it is as myopic to think brands can make do without television in India today as it is to think that brands can afford to ignore the investments their competitors are already making online.
He also predicts that traditional media and digital media will merge soon. “Everything from your television set to an in-store poster will be interactive, will leverage consumer data to recognise consumers and customise communication to them. If you have not started preparing for it already, start today,” he adds.
Prasad makes a valid point by saying it is very difficult to do a cost comparison if the medium and the publisher are not defined. Several times, advertising on a premium website can cost twice as much. He adds that at times, clients view Dentsu as more expensive than other agencies and this is because they opt to use a mix of premium websites to advertise. “Today, because of no definitive third party measurement, media agencies are making the most of buying space on sub-standard sites that come cheap,” he further explains the cost difference.
Clearly, understanding the online medium, its reach and having a branding strategy in place are as important as with other media. This is the understanding that online branding agencies bring to the table – to ensure continuity with other media used and an easy recall which contributes to the brand’s growth.
India has some catching up to do when it comes to making best use of online media. It remains to be seen if the future will see consumers going completely digital, wherein the potential of online media as an advertising tool can be realised to its fullest.
Stay Sharp with Lipton Yellow Label
OgilvyOne designed and implemented Stay-Sharp.in, a website for Lipton Yellow Label Tea, to prove the claim that this tea contains real Theanine that helps clear the mind and keeps one sharp.
The website claims to be the world’s largest collaborative online jigsaw puzzle with 25,000 pieces, broken up into 1,000 parts with 25 pieces each. Consumers can solve one or more of these 1,000 parts and work together to complete the entire image.
Perfect Image Online
Dentsu’s online campaign for Canon IXUS involves Windows Live Messenger as their preferred platform to promote its latest digital cameras, the IXUS 900 Ti and 850 IS featuring perfect image with face detection features, using an integrated online advertising campaign.
As part of the online campaign, Canon has launched a Messenger Theme Pack that allows users to customize their Messenger applications using Canon Display Pictures, Winks, Emoticons and Background Pictures.
Integrated and interactive video advertising with multi-functional tabs within the ad allows users to view the TV commercial, find out more about the product and features, participate in a contest and learn to install Canon MSN theme pack from within the ad unit.