BrandWagon Ad Talk

The usual practices of not over-communicating, sharing only relevant content and staying topical continue to apply in a post-Covid world.

Brands need to maintain a fine balance between digital and physical models brand launch.
Brands need to maintain a fine balance between digital and physical models brand launch.

The pandemic has brought about notable shifts across industries, and the case has been no different for marketing. Today, digital marketing has become a crucial aspect in order to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. In our weekly BrandWagon Ad Talk series, industry experts highlight what has changed over the past two years and more importantly, are these changes here to stay. Uttara Talapatra, marketing consultant, talks to BrandWagon Online, about the dos and don’ts of digital marketing, best marketing campaigns, and more.

What is the difference between launching a brand in today’s digital era versus earlier?

The world has changed drastically over the past few decades. How we live, consume information and transact in our day to day lives has also changed commensurately. In such a scenario, launching a new brand or new communication campaign has also become significantly different from the earlier era.

In principle, it is now possible for a brand to have an effective launch without having any physical distribution presence or traditional media presence. The channels of social media and digital commerce have helped to ensure that huge investments are no longer required to set up some of the fundamental systems and support functions, thereby enabling several smaller and innovative brands and businesses to launch. This has led to the rise and proliferation of D2C brands over the past few years. At the same time, sharper targeting using digital media also helps to ensure that the advertising spend required is much less as compared to traditional media, coupled with the ability to retarget interested prospects. All of these elements together, contribute towards an efficient digital based eco-system in which a brand can launch effectively.

What has not changed though are the fundamental principles of connecting with the intended TG in an engaging manner. Due to the considerable clutter on social media and digital channels, brands without a compelling storytelling strategy in place will not manage to acquire relevant mindshare, thereby leading to potential launch failures. Hence, it is a fine balance to maintain at the time of any launch.

What are the recent best marketing or advertising campaigns you have seen and why?

While there are several good campaigns that have been launched over the last year, one that stands out in my mind is the Apple campaign highlighting accessibility features for differently abled users. This was a brand campaign highlighting different features across iPhones, Apple Watches and Mac products, which help to make the lives of differently abled people seamless.

The campaign had a very uplifting feel to it and it showcased various technical features which are not mainstream, but of immense utility to the disabled community. Some of the campaign’s lyrics were derived from inspirational speeches by Muhammad Ali while the music track was performed by the indigenous all-women’s Australian collective Marliya Choir. This campaign provides more than lip service for the disabled community by highlighting the relevant product features, while cementing Apple’s brand and technical superiority in the minds of viewers. It is one of the most upbeat, positive, and feel-good campaigns I have come across in recent times.

Which brand in the last year has made the best use of digital and how?

The digital ecommerce giant, Amazon, in my mind has done a fabulous job of running consistently effective and hard-hitting digital campaigns throughout the year. Whether it has been the promotion of their Amazon Prime benefits, the Amazon Prime content innovations, the multiple Alexa campaigns or the Amazon Pay campaigns. With each piece of communication they have tried to promote a relevant and topical feature or benefit, which has consistently helped the business grow and the brand to do better over the year.

Amazon has also successfully integrated multiple propositions in a single campaign to drive value for consumers. For instance, in the Amazon plus Alexa campaigns, viewers are taken on a journey through the vast Amazon product catalogue, simply using the easy-to-use Alexa voice navigation. The Amazon Pay campaigns talk about the viewpoint of not only end consumers but also of vendor partners, who can use the channel as an effective payment gateway.

Amazon as a mother brand has consistently strengthened its presence across e-commerce, logistics, payment portals, tech enablement and OTT using these multiple campaigns spread across the year. No wonder it is the largest seamless digital ecosystem and marketplace in the country, with record number of visitors and penetration.

In a post-Covid world, what are the dos and don’ts of digital marketing?

The usual best practices of not over-communicating, sharing only relevant content and staying topical continue to apply in a post-Covid world. However, what has changed is the level of genuineness, authenticity and “do-good” that consumers now expect from brands. Generally speaking, the larger the brand, the more pronounced these expectations usually are.

Consumers have become very conscious about the ingredients that go into their products, how those ingredients are sourced and what their health and ecological impact is. A large portion of the population is now willing to pay a premium for safer, healthier and more sustainable products across the spectrum. Hence, brands across all categories must speak about these aspects on a regular basis to continue to enjoy trust in consumers’ minds. These need to become a part of the regular dialogue between them and their followers on social media.

In addition, every interaction and exchange with consumers needs to be authentic and in line with the overall spirit of the brand. Else, consumers are likely to call them out on Social Media for practising double standards. This can easily snowball into a PR nightmare and should be consciously avoided. The only long-term way of doing this is to walk the talk and to ensure fair and ethical business practices across the value chain.

One recent bad case of advertising you have seen, and why?

Advertisers and creative teams put in a huge amount of effort to create pieces of communication before they reach consumers. Hence, I firmly believe that no team intentionally does poor communication or advertising as there is simply too much at stake. However, sometimes even the best laid plans do go awry and the Layerr Shot campaign of last year seems to have been a case in point. Perhaps the creators did not realise how the communication would be perceived by viewers, but overall, the campaign was in very poor taste.

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First published on: 01-04-2023 at 12:02 IST