1. Going digital: How a strong online presence can give brands the power to reach consumers effectively

Going digital: How a strong online presence can give brands the power to reach consumers effectively

'Some companies favour the traditional over creativity when building a website. While the website aims at informing readers of your products and services, it need not be boring. Tell a story!'

New Delhi | Published: March 28, 2017 3:50 AM
‘Social media helps consistently interact with the target audience and mould their thinking. A case in point, the Dumb Ways To Die campaign by Melbourne Metro’

In 2012, Maggi launched a campaign, Main aur Meri Maggi, which involved customers narrating unique and personal stories about the noodle brand. It struck a chord with Indian audiences. The brand relied on the traditional route — television, radio and outdoor media — instead of the digital channel. The campaign ran successfully until 2015, when it was banned for about five months due to high lead and MSG content. The brand had to rethink its strategy and came up with the We Miss You Too campaign, to earn back its loyal customer base. The messaging was simple — Maggi is better now, but stays delicious.

There was one noteworthy difference between both campaigns. The comeback campaign invested heavily on digital acceleration over traditional. The brand engaged with customers through social media, mainly YouTube. The concept was not just digital media, but of competing in a digitally-connected age. It illustrates how digital has led to a tectonic shift. It has levelled the playing field and the top dog no longer has a greater advantage over a challenger brand. The biggest advantage of online media is that the world is shrinking into a global village. It is helping brands reinvent customer thinking through innovative and content driven strategies.

Here are a few tips to help you build a strong online presence and mould customer thinking:

Great website

Some companies favour the traditional over creativity when building a website. While the website aims at informing readers of your products and services, it need not be boring. Tell a story! Tell the reader about the most defining moments of your business, but keep it brief and crisp. Use visuals, but don’t be afraid of white space either. The company website must be updated as static information will not serve your purpose.

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Content is king

A common element in all successful campaigns has been strong content. A powerful online campaign by P&G’s Always, titled #LikeaGirl is a testament to that. The campaign was created to change the bad connotation associated with the phrase ‘Like a girl’. The brand made several videos showing what the phrase means to several adults, educating the viewer that it should be associated with strength. For challenger brands, content plays a crucial role. Challenger brands can be bold and slightly controversial content can work in their favour.

Tap the influencers

Influencers are an excellent conduit to communicate the desired message. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge shows what an integral part influencers play in making online campaigns a success. Notable people like Mark Zuckerberg, former US President Barack Obama, and many celebrities participated in the challenge helping raise millions of dollars.

Use social media effectively

Social media helps consistently interact with the target audience and mould their thinking. A case in point, the Dumb Ways To Die campaign by Melbourne Metro. The campaign was aimed at raising rail safety awareness and used a melodic music video featuring animated creatures who die in comically unintelligent ways. The idea was to highlight that the train moves in a predictable fashion and accidental death due to trains is possibly the dumbest way to die. The campaign was a roaring success globally and the video became viral on social media.

Blogging

Blogging frequently can help change customer thinking. Blogs need not be solely about your business. If you are a life insurance company, you can write educative blogs about the need for insurance and how it benefits an individual.

Use online ads

A 30-second film can help change customer thinking about your product. When you use Google, Facebook or Bing ads, you also increase your SEO for local and national searching.

Find the forums

To reinvent customer thinking, use online forums. You should post there and listen to what groups are saying about your product, service or industry. You can post ideas to change customer thinking about your product and service.

Contests

Online contests are becoming popular and the use of social media can allow you to be creative and have a fun interaction with your target audience.

The author, Martijn de Jong is chief digital officer, Aegon Life Insurance

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