Ananya Saha
Mar 20, 2015

Ad:tech 2015: Three imperatives to connect with a connected audience: scale, connecting with popular culture, experimentation

At ad:tech 2015, Rahul Welde of Unilever spoke about how the brand is leveraging digital media

Ad:tech 2015: Three imperatives to connect with a connected audience: scale, connecting with popular culture, experimentation
Rahul Welde, vice-president – media, Unilever – Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Russia, kickstarted Ad:tech with a keynote on ‘Crafting brands for life in a connected world’. The fifth edition of the two-day digital marketing and advertising conference and exhibition is currently underway in Gurgaon (NCR).
Welde spoke about the need to create ‘fit-for-purpose’ campaigns. “We have to have solutions for each kind of audience and create compelling stuff for each of the audience,” he underlined.
The company's much awarded ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ was in the spotlight yet again. The campaign launched in media-dark parts of the State of Bihar, a State which boasts of high mobile penetration. Within a year, it became the most preferred media channel in Bihar, the speaker explained. 
He emphasised on three things to connect with the connected audience: scale, connecting with popular culture, and experimentation. Unilever also has a 'general experimentation fund’, to push thinking and creativity at Unilever, informed Welde. That is besides its ‘Go Global’ policy, which invites technology agencies to pitch solutions for Unilever’s global brands. The Unilever Foundry connects technology companies and start-ups with the brands.
Welde pointed to creation of Unilever Media Command Centres, which listen to conversations in the digital ecosystem. These were launched in 2013 globally, and in 2014 in India. Brand managers, according to him, own and mine the content, but ‘consumers are the one in charge of these centres'.
The keynote speaker highlighted how it is important to create a buzz that equally drives sales. “After our Valentine’s Day campaign, the sales figures went up by about 10X,” he revealed. He also spoke about the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week, where multiple agencies are working to activate the campaign and have touched three to five million people. Welde revealed that Unilever has started partnering with multiple digital and technology agencies to make better campaigns and increase reach.
Unilever’s focus is ‘turbo-charging digital’ across all its markets, he explained, and said: "It is most important part of our agenda. But there is still a massive runway in India that needs to be covered when it comes to digital, since technology and digital platforms are moving at breakneck speed.”
Asked about pushing branded content in regional languages, Welde responded, “Let’s get the content in English right first. It’s a massive task. Internationally, we are doing branded content in many languages. We will, hopefully, see the progress in next two to three years when it comes to regional languages.”
The media veteran opined that while mobile as a medium was a massive opportunity, making a campaign work on mobile remains a challenge. 


Campaign India