A session titled ‘Brand’s transformation In The Digital Age’ at the IAMAI Marketing Conclave 2014 saw a panel comprised of Raja Chakraborty, head - marketing, JK Helene Curtis; Rameet Arora, senior director - marketing, McDonald’s India; Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee; Eklavya Bhattacharya, head - digital, MTV India; and Priya Jayaraman, co-founder - business director, Propaganda India.
Moderated by Suman Srivastava, CEO, Marketing Unplugged, the session saw discussions ranging from digital’s role in the media mix, to how it differs from existing mediums.
Jayaraman reflected on who has reaped the benefits of digital the most, and said, “Digital is enabling the transformation of brands but more so for smaller brands. Smaller brands and SMEs have utilised this channel to actually change their businesses. It’s not just about amplification anymore. But at the same it is not to be treated as a medium that is solely used to put up a TVC and amplify it.”
Bhattacharya added, “They say that digital is a subset of marketing but I think that marketing is a subset of digital. And if you’re looking at digital as marketing, then you have a long way to go. Everywhere you go you see people fiddling with their phones. That is our audience. So people who keep moving from one screen to another are the audience for us digital marketers.”
What makes digital different?
Bhattacharya distinguished digital from other mediums. He said, “The fact that digital is being used to drive businesses makes it a different animal. We at MTV and any other media channel, we are all in the business of business. What has happened is that digital is no longer about spending money it can be used to make money. For example, the only reason why MTV is on YouTube is not because we want more eyeballs. It is because YouTube helps us earn money so this is probably how digital is different medium altogether.”
Arora noted that digital is a medium that has changed the way brands communicate with customers. He said, “Brands no longer talk ‘at’ customers but rather ‘to’ them, we are accessible on their terms. They’re demanding more information and for us to be more accessible, which has led to a change in the playing field.”
Hegde maintained that he was not so sure of digital’s point-of-difference vis-à-vis other mediums. He explained, “Digital has only added an arm for you to reach out to your customer with. Whether it has reshaped the theoretical funnel or has the funnel been broken are all points of debate.”
Means of engagement or gaining new customers?
Arora noted that digital was a bit of both. He added, “The more we interact with our customers, the more they demand. It is a digital platform after all. The key is to provide the accessibility to customers to reach their brand.”
Chakraborty spoke about how the digital medium behaves differently depending on the sector it operates in, “We’re constantly learning on the basis of the experiences we have. As far as FMCG is concerned, the potential of digital to be a business driver is still lesser in comparison to other categories. Firstly, it depends on which category the brand operates in and secondly on the experiences of spends versus effects. And from our experience in the FMCG what we’ve learnt is that TV is a hard-sell medium whereas digital is more of an engagement medium.”