With the year ending on a good note, it’s now that time where we look forward to what the New Year has in store for us (well at least till 21-12-2012 when the world comes to an end). A few campaigns not only fed into the ‘herd mentality’ of marketing in India but also proved to a brave few that a leap of faith in good ideas will reap great rewards. This year will see marketers focus on an engagement strategy rather than an acquisition strategy. We will see the importance of developing an engaging, sharable brand rather than just a brand that amasses a fan-base and really does nothing to engage them.
Social media will again take precedence this year but due to a few catalysts in the last year (the 'Kolaveri Di', Flash Mobs success), the adoption of social media will be a lot easier and we will get to see a lot more innovations in this space. The statistics too will add to the positivity. With approximately 30 billion pieces of content being added to Facebook every month, it will be the preferred social network to be present on. More than 2 billion videos are watched on YouTube daily making digital video an important component of a marketeers plan.
'Kolaveri Di', with the official video now surpassing 36 million views, has proved that a digital video can reach a sizable number of people through the right kind of social marketing. Video consumption is on the increase and Indians being more viewers than contributors, therein lies the opportunity for brands. Brands like Airtel, have already started to have some traction in the space by taking the ‘Har Friend Zaroori’ campaign forward via their YouTube campaign.
Others, like Mahindra will leverage on innovations, like augmented reality at the Indian Auto Expo 2012 to create personalised social media videos that enable fans to create and share their own videos, thus getting the fans to be the directors and publishers of their content. This will give rise to something called ‘the Outernet’. In simple terms, it’s the Internet spilling out into the real world. Technology will give to rise to a number of possibilities that brands can leverage to get the best of both worlds. I believe this is the best way for a conservative (or a not so confident) marketeer to step into the world of digital cautiously. These innovations will work as a transformation layer between the internet and the real world. The lines of marketing mediums are now beginning to blur.
These innovations will give rise to the application economy that will enable experiences on multiple devices. Applications on Mobile, iPads and TVs too will see an exponential rise and at some point I do believe that we will reach an overload point. However, localised applications would be the ones that would thrive the most.
A lot of the functionality of these apps would be possible due to cloud computing. Accessibility of your content and the content that you need will now be at your fingertips. Music and video services will thrive due to cloud computing and soon storage devices will start to look defunct. With every mobile operating system providing a cloud sync (iPhone’s iCloud, Microsoft’s SkyDrive) possibilities to ‘carry’ a lot more wherever you go and access them across multiple devices. E-books too will rise in consumption.
One of the biggest changes we saw in the Indian digital landscape was the rise in e-commerce. Though this was mainly attributed due to the inclusion of the Cash on Delivery model, I believe efficiency of delivery, competitive pricing and excellent customer service (Flipkart.com in particular) played a very important part in the boom in e-commerce. Expect a lot more in this space supported with apps on every device. People will still go to the retail outlets to examine and get the ‘touch & feel’ experience they need but when it comes to purchasing the product, it’s most likely they will do it on the internet because of the discounted price.
So in a nutshell no matter what the method, marketeers will make sure they cover the following to make their brand a success in the digital space:
1. CONTENT - Is there enough of interesting brand/branded social media out there
2. SHARING - Is that content interesting enough that people are sharing the same
3. CONVERSATIONS - Are there enough conversations about the brand (both good and bad) and how is the brand participating in these conversations
4. ENGAGEMENT - How is the brand engaging its (prospective) fans on a regular basis
5. RECOMMENDATION - Is the brand doing enough to be recommended to others in the digital space
Wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope to see a year filled with innovations.
Carlton D’Silva is the chief creative officer at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough! Find him on twitter @TheWordOfGawd