FEB 19, 2014 #031
It’s easier than ever to listen to what your customers are saying about your brand. And they are saying a lot across all these different social media channels Lulu Raghavan Managing Director, Landor Associates
Goafest 2014 will not work; abort and fix it
inally, the AAAi has announced the 2014 edition of the Goafest and the Abbys. We’ll ignore the Abbys for the moment, and focus on Goafest. Here are the highlights: 1. Dates: May 29, 30, 31 2. Venue: At Grand Hyatt 3. Bar: will be open only during nonseminars 4. “The frills + thrills”: including rain dance, beach sports will be done 5. Conclave: now on second day, open to all GF invites 6. Four half-day knowledge sessions So if you’re tempted, let me detempt you. The first thing that you do before travel is to check on local weather, and local tourist spots, activities and food. Here you go: “Moderately hot weather with humidity (http://www.holidayweather.com/goa/averages/) while evenings are pleasant and enjoyable. Prices, especially hotels and resorts are lower during this period which makes it ideal for budget holiday. On the beach almost all the shacks have been dismantled and only the main restaurants remain open. Due to rougher sea, swimming is less safe during this time. Besides beaches, visiting wildlife sanctuaries could offer slight respite from the heat. (http://www.mustseeindia.com/ Goa-weather). Lovely. Hot weather. Closed
shacks. Unsafe swimming. Have you lost it, guys? “Learn from Designyatra that content is King, not the entertainment. I’ve attended two editions of Designyatra in Goa and one in Mumbai – and all three have had superlative content. Content that keeps you riveted to your seats and taking notes. Speakers you want to walk up to and hug once they’ve finished. Conference halls that are packed to the rafters. And there’s no free alcohol, no parasailing, no tattoos. Designyatra is serious business – and the delegates seem to profit from it – there are more attending every year. There are no major costs in event management, as all the sessions are held in hotel banquet halls. Sponsors are happy to support the event, because they’ve seen, over the years, the quality of the delegates and the level of involvement. The old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. On the other hand, if it is broke, fix it. Goafest is broke. Fix it,” I wrote two years ago. The only thing that the AAAI has learned is to make the Conclave more inclusive. However, they’ve failed miserably with the rest. While they have announced the Goafest, it’s much like politicians make announcements on new projects. There’s not a single word on the content of the content. Four half-day knowledge sessions,
they say – but what do these sessions contain? Are they straight speeches? Work shops? Panel discussions? No clue. Who will speak? Who are the stars that we will learn from? Here, too, no clue. So much for the content. I can well imagine what international speakers who are invited will first do – do a google search for what Goa is like at the end of May. What they will find is what I have found – terrible weather, no shacks and no swimming. What chances do we have that any speaker from Europe or the US will attend? Slim. This choice of May makes it even worse than the traditional choice of the first 10 days of April. The April dates did not clash with school holidays and family commitments – the end of May dates do. One cannot imagine those holidaying with the family interrupting their vacation to visit a shack-less, hot Goafest. The AAAI has fallen into a trap – a trap that I wrote about 2 years ago. “The AAAI needs to re-focus on the premise of Goafest. To begin with, they’re trapped, by the very name of the festival, to hold the event in Goa. Goa has become, over the years, a very expensive destination – except if you live in Mumbai or Pune. To someone from Kolkata , Singapore and Bangkok are cheaper. At short notice, even in April, it could cost you a small fortune to fly to or from Goa at short notice. Ask Lodestar’s
Amitabh Bachchan announced as the celebrity face of complan Amitabh Bachchan will now be the ambassador for health drink, Complan. Bachchan will be seen as the ‘Taakat Ka Bhoot’ (‘spirit of strength’) in Complan’s new TV commercial placing importance on “strength”, says a press release. Speaking about Bachchan as the choice for the endorsement, Mrs. Seema Modi – Managing Director, Heinz India Pvt Ltd said “Celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year, Complan has signed Mr. Bachchan as one of the three celebrity brand ambassadors to unveil its new packaging and branding. It was an unanimous choice by our consumers. He is a living legend, evokes a lot of trust and embodies strength. It is the first time that Complan has associated with celebrities for endorsements. Mr. Bachchan will bring immense credibility and memorability to Complan and the ‘Taakat ka Naya Plan –
Naya Complan’ brand message. We are absolutely confident that his association would only further enhance the brand’s equity and help us appeal to a wider audience.” Commenting on his support for Complan, Bachchan said: “I feel very privileged to be a part of this innovative and thoughtprovoking brand campaign. I am looking forward to taking this professional journey with the team at Complan, and I am excited to see the response we will get from audiences to the new commercial and brand messaging for Complan.” Commenting on the new brand positioning, the Golden Jubilee and signing Bachchan, Mr. V. Mohan - Wholetime Director/ VP-Business Development, Corp. & Legal Affairs & Co. Secretary, Heinz, said: “We are delighted to celebrate fifty years of Complan in India and there was no better
way to commemorate this than by enlisting the support of one of India’s most recognized and trusted names. Mr. Bachchan and Complan go a long way in delighting the discerning audience / consumers through generations.” Mr. Abhishek Prasad – General Manager - Marketing, Heinz, added, “Through our extensive research we knew that Complan needed to focus on the message of strength which is personified by the profile of Mr Bachchan. The anchor for the commercial’s creative direction is Mr. Bachchan’s bhoot avatar, invisible but omnipresent, where he is seen supporting a child overcome various daily activities, be it riding a bike uphill or carrying his heavy school bag,or helping his mom in her heavy chores- giving him that extra strength in the form of Complan.”
Arvind Sharma, Srinivasan Swamy and Pratap Bose at a press conference announcing Goafest 2014
Shashi Sinha, who had to make a last minute change a few years ago and ended up spending Rs.18000 on a one-way ticket from Goa to Delhi on the Sunday after Goafest. Forcing the event to stay at Goa makes the festival exclusive and not inclusive. It is slowly becoming an annual ritual for the industry from Mumbai to take a few days off. We see a few hundred each from Delhi and Bangalore; from the rest of India, the number will be in the low double digits. Perhaps 10-15 from Kolkata, and another 10-15 from Chennai.
It’s time to become truly inclusive, and start moving the festival around the country. That’s why Goafest traps you. For God’s sake, if the entire advertising industry cannot come up with a new name for an advertising festival, it’s a little sad,” I had written. Last year, the Goafest in general and the Abbys in particular were disasters. The AAAI has done nothing to address the causes of the disaster – and they aren’t even attempting to paper over the cracks. There is not a single mention of what
when wrong and why last year. By not speaking about it, they are, once again, taking the entire industry for granted. The best thing that the AAAI can do is to suspend Goafest in 2014. Instead, the powers-that-be should go for an offsite, maybe in Goa in May, and take stock of all that is wrong with the event as it stands. Fix the issues, come back with an idea for a festival and an awards that have credibility and that puts the advertising professional at the centre of the concept.
2 Anant Rangaswami
FEB 19, 2014 #031
issues of the day Important that sanity prevails in INS decision on IRS As you read this, the Readership Survey Council of India would have met representatives of the Indian Newspaper Society and discussed their reservations on the recently released Indian Readership Survey. From what one understands, the outcome of the meeting is already known: the INS will demand that the IRS is junked – and the MRUC, which oversees the IRS, will refuse to do so. Aggrieved INS members will pull out of the IRS; many will take MRUC to court. To all those who want the IRS to die an unnecessary death, please take a few moments to see what Mindshare’s R Gowthaman told us. “Considering the footprint of the market that I operate in, and also the way sampling happens across the world, I have reasonable inputs to say that India is the only market in the world where we have such heterogeneity of the population. No other country in the world has this diversity. And the moment you want to expand measurement – when literacy increases you need to go down population strata – the diversity is only getting exposed rather than getting managed and controlled. So, to that extent, nobody can compare and say, “Is this measurement in India better or worse than in Australia
or the UK or the US or any other country in the world.” So there is no comparison. The reality is that measuring a market like India is the biggest challenge any researcher will have in the world today. It needs to be customized to the needs of the country and that throws up challenges. Let’s take a market like Malaysia, where it is so homogenous that, at best, they might have to address Malay versus Chinese. That’s it. I go to Indonesia, and it’s just the Bahasa population. You go to Australia and it’s very, very congruous. Even in China, if you go to provincial markets, it is reasonably congruous, with the same dialect, and the same language that one can track, whereas, in India, there are at least 30 states, 50 dialects, and so on. This is a unique market and the best of the brains have been behind it (IRS). I think that we should respect the people who are behind this and give them the due space to discuss all the issues with those who are aggrieved. MRUC has taken pains to tell everybody that they should not compare this IRS with data from past IRS. Everybody has to look at the data and see it as a fresh start. Right from the methodology, to the sampling, to covering the audiences as much as possible, everything
has changed. The time has come for the market to say, “I will not measure versus what it was a year back, etc, let’s start afresh. It has to be a fresh starting point. Stop saying my RPC (Readers Per Copy) went up or went down, the methodology is not the same. It’s like wearing new glasses to see the world; it might look different, but the reality is that this methodology is better than the past. Somewhere, something is being addressed, and somewhere else, something is not being addressed; but sit at the table and solve the issue and not throw the IRS out of the window.” If the issues between the INS and the IRS are not resolved today, we head to an age of a measurement dark print media. That would be tragic for marketers. The last thing that publishers want is for marketers, using lack of measurement as an excuse, to squeeze rates even further. Things are difficult for the print publishers as it is. We can debate about the precise date of the demise of print – but we cannot deny that the death is imminent. For publishers to be able to monetize the few years left, the one factor that will allow a longer life is measurement.
Branding in digital: The good, the bad, the implications
Branding has not fundamentally changed in the age of social networks. Social media is just another channel, although a critical one now, that has to be mastered and perfected as a medium if brands are to thrive in this uber connected world that we live in. A brand still needs to stand for a singular compelling idea that is both meaningful to its target audience and different from its competitors. A brand still needs to have consistency in presentation and experience across different touch points of the brand. And it still takes years to build a brand’s reputation but just one mistake to tarnish it. These basic tenets of what a brand stands for and how they work have not changed. But with the advent and the pervasive nature of social media, things have gotten both easier but also more difficult for marketers. It’s easier than ever to make it abundantly clear to your intended audience what you stand for using every avenue that social media offers. This is true for brands that have been around for a while, brands newly born in the social age and brands entirely social in nature. The Tata brand has stood for trust for over a century. AAP (Aap Aadmi Party) cut through the cutter of the political cacophony by standing for the people’s choice. An entirely digital brand like Flipkart is dedicating itself to creating the greatest shopping experience without leaving the home for the Indian consumer. There is more free media available to Tata, AAP and Flipkart than they can possible fill with meaningful content. Just imagine how much space there is on their websites, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, Pinterest pages, Twitter handles and every other social media channel absolutely free of cost. Brand managers in the Mad Men era would have given an arm and a leg for this kind of free media exposure. It’s easier than ever to announce new product launches, product offers and other updates about a brand’s activities. eBay India used the MyNeweBay contest to create buzz among its followers. It’s easier than ever to build a community of brand advocates. Using the social media channels mentioned above, brands can easily scale up their fan base by continuing to provide relevant and engaging content on a regular basis. Their loyalists too spread the word about their positive experiences with the brand thereby increasing its appeal. Domino’s Pizza India has over 4.8 million fans on Facebook alone. The brand is very active on both Facebook and Twitter allowing it to lead the conversation in its space. It’s easier than ever to cost-effectively test new product ideas or new campaigns in the digital medium. Café Coffee
Day regularly uses its Facebook community to co-create new products. They organize testing of new products by apprising customers online and then take their feedback seriously. CCD’s insanely popular crunchy frappe was the result of innovation driven by their R&D team in conjunction with online customer feedback. It’s easier than ever to listen to what your customers are saying about your brand. And they are saying a lot across all these different social media channels. Many brands are capitalizing on social media insights to improve campaigns, develop better products and respond to customer service issues. Pepsi leveraged the interplay between cricket and football fans on social media in its campaigns featuring Dhoni playing soccer. HDFC is always on alert for social media complaints about long queues at branches and the branch managers are alerted to take action. And it is, theoretically at least, easier than ever to sell. Just e-commerce enable your website and that could add a few percentage points of growth. Fashion and luxury brands in particular are rushing to add e-commerce platforms to cater to non-metro cities where they might not have physical presence but willing consumers. A study by KPMG estimates that non-metro cities generate around 40–45 percent of business for e-commerce portals. Now that we have seen all the positive ways in which digital can help brands, let’s look at some reasons why it is more difficult than ever for branding. The biggest headline in the bad news category is that there’s simply no place to hide in the age of social networks. Inferior brand experiences will be exposed. Flipkart discovered this the painful way after moving to a new marketplace model when a very angry customer used social media to vent about his horrible experience. Following the groundswell of support this customer amassed online, Flipkart was forced to finally respond. It illustrates just how much power customer wield now. The sheer volume and complexity of brand management has increased. A brand manager’s job was hard enough in preparing the brand’s messages across media, now the task’s difficulty has exponentially increased. It’s hard for a brand manager to succeed these days without a fair amount of digital sophistication and mastery of mediums other than print. For example, how easily can a brand manager run a Facebook campaign that delivers customized content for each of the brand’s million customers? It can be done but it needs the requisite know how and experience. Or then there’s the social media agency to be called upon.
Brands are constantly being judged. How often they respond. How they respond. How they react to other events. Brand marketers have to be totally on top of what they say and what is being said about them. They have to constantly monitor reams of data on what is being said about them across social channels and respond within hours to prevent negative comments from growing into a problem. Brands can’t afford to have an ego about whether they were right in a particular instance or not. The bigger a brand’s footprint and customer base, the bigger the headache. When it doubt, brands should err on the side of absolute humility. And finally, brand consistency, the holy grail of the most successful brands, is not so easy to achieve across all channels, offline and online unless a brand has a dictatorial brand management team armed with a set of crystal clear and easy to execute brand guidelines. Even the best brands have room for improvement in this regard. So what does this all mean for the brand marketer? Be human, sound human. While this is the digital medium we are talking about, it is extremely important for brands to come across as human. It is after all a human to human interaction on social media not a robot to human one. Don't forget your brand’s personality when managing its presence on social media. It is important to stay true to what your brand stands for and also strike the delicate balance between corporate speak and informality. Integration is key. Social media should not be treated as a separate medium that needs a strategy. Your brand strategy should be executed in this medium in a way that is appropriate to how it works. From the customer’s point of view, it should be a seamless experience across online and offline channels. You need to work particularly hard to ensure that the creative execution of your brand on social channels is as compelling as offline. Mind the format. Don't treat social media like print or radio. Get social. Realize that it’s about conversations and dialogues not one-way communication. Brevity is important. Listen and learn. Tap into your brand’s community to grow. Always on, always aware, you can’t go to sleep. Anything can happen anytime that can either catapult your brand to instant fame or bring your brand down in seconds. Stay alert, think on your feet and respond quickly. There’s no better way to truly understand this medium than to actively manage your own personal brand in social media. Get started and all the best! Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director, Landor Associates
Advertising for each South market: how practical is it?
A recent IAA event in Chennai debated and declared that ‘there will be no consumer connect, unless advertising is created for each South market’. There were some solid arguments for and against the notion. There is truth in this argument for the motion: Any brand coming into the South has to exhibit an understanding of the people, their language, their traditions, their local context – if it needed to thrive in the South. While this, against the notion makes sense too: “It is not about language all the time. It is the emotion. Across the world, the child cries the same way and the mother emotes the same way. So our job as communicators is to hang on to those emotions and then communicate with them.” In my view, while emotions can be universal, the impact of execution is greater with a local touch. Take the Google Search ad which became hugely popular on the webrecently. The underlying human emotion – the pain of separation and the joy of reunion, is a universal one. The execution too must have moved millions in India and Pakistan – even if they had not personally experienced the trauma of partition. So while a gent in Coimbatore may have shed a tear watching the ad (simply because he was moved by the story and the acting), someone else from New Delhi who happened to experience the trauma of those events may have been moved even more. He would have connected with the ad, its nuances, the language in a more intimate manner than the guy from Coimbatore. It is a common practice in South India to make bilingual
films – usually in Tamil & Telugu. Many such films have gone on to become hits in both the markets. Sometimes a hit in one language gets dubbed in another and tastes success. The underlying theme, cultural codes are same across both the languages. Yet, some noticeable differences remain. Dubbing, for example, is usually off. Hyper local settings don’t always connect well across markets. For example, the remake of Kahani is a Tamil-Telugu bilingual set in Hyderabad. While the overall story, the setting, the characters will appeal to pan-South India, there will be differences in the personal connect across markets. I am sure the locale will be more familiar to someone in Andhra than a viewer in Salem, TN. These little things make a difference. The recent Malayalam hit, Drishyam ran to packed houses in the South (even in Mumbai and abroad for that matter). I have seen non-Malayali’s enjoying the movie in cinema halls. While the language, the setting, characters and the plot have familiarity, the connect would be stronger in each state’s own language as a native production (not just dubbed). No wonder there is talk of it being re-made in Tamil & Telugu. In advertising, connect with the South audience has always been a paint point – to theSouth Indian viewer, that is. The mantra when it comes to pan-India advertising, ‘lost in translation‘. To the creators, it is just a matter of dubbing and when possible, adding a white vibhooti (holy ash smeared on the forehead) to the protagonist. In my view, this business of connecting with the regional audience (not just South) is taken very very lightly by Mumbai &
Delhi based agencies. The reason: it is bloody hard work. It begins with finding an idea that connects with all of India (a mammoth effort in itself), getting the right nuances in execution, translation, dubbing…the works. The core team which creates pan-India advertising cannot be expected to know the South Indian languages – they have to rely on expert help, usually business partners outside the agency. And they are not part of the thinking behind the campaign and are just asked to translate, not ‘trans-create’. Also it is not practical to get the lip sync right for all 4 South Indian languages when shooting the film. At best a film is shot with lip sync for Hindi and one South Indian language. Even then, it does look odd to see ads with lip sync completely off. Again, these little things make a difference. So while creating just two versions – Hindi and ‘South Indian’ itself is fraught with so many issues, leave alone budget constraints is it really practical for brands to create a version for each South market? Even film makers with budgets much bigger than ad films cannot do justice to it (even though it is an ideal situation) how can marketing & advertising folks implement it? It seems impractical to me. Only a select few brands with deep pockets can even plan for such – not all brands. What say? Lakshmipathy Bhat is Director at CodeConclave. @bhatnaturally is a failed MBBS applicant, a Zoology graduate, ex-photocopier salesman, occasional blogger and a student of advertising and new media.
FEB 19, 2014 #031
the world’s top brands Ferrari – The World’s Most Powerful Brand The Brand Finance Global 500, is an annual study conducted by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. The world’s biggest brands are put to the test and evaluated to determine which are the most powerful and most valuable. Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand. The legendary Italian carmaker scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index, from desirability, loyalty and consumer sentiment to visual identity, online presence and employee satisfaction. Ferrari is one of only eleven brands (including Google, Hermès, Coca-Cola, Disney, Rolex and F1 racing rivals Red Bull) to be awarded an AAA+ brand rating and has the highest overall score. Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh stated, “The prancing horse on a yellow badge is instantly recognizable the world over, even where paved roads have yet to reach. In its
home country and among its many admirers worldwide Ferrari inspires more than just brand loyalty, more of a cultish, even quasi-religious devotion, its brand power is indisputable.” Though Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand, being a niche, luxury brand with an officially capped production, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is some way off being the world’s most valuable. Its US$4 billion brand value puts it 350th in brand value terms. David Haigh continues, “Apple also has a powerful brand, rated AAA by Brand Finance. However what sets it apart is its ability to monetize that brand. For example, though tablets were in use before the iPad, it was the application of the Apple brand to the concept that captured the public imagination and allowed it to take off as a commercial reality.” This is just one of the factors responsible for its US$105 billion brand value; Apple is the world’s most valuable brand for the third year in a row.
FEB 19, 2014 #031
the back of the book Social media has come a long way in the last few years. What was once thought to be a medium for connecting with family and friends, soon became a channel for brands and businesses to connect with consumers. The transition, while at times bumpy as brands learned the limitations the new medium has, matured over the years. Today, social media is the easiest method for brands to have a one-on-one conversation with the masses. Brands have become more accessible as more people are associating themselves with their favorite brands. As each social network keeps changing and evolves with new dimensions, Unmetric conducted a study on the top 100 US brands across sectors to see if there has been any fundamental shifts in the way brands are using social media over the last two years. This is what we found on Facebook and Twitter. An average brand had 7.3 million fans on Facebook in 2012 which went up to 10.7 million in one year. However, fan growth slowed down and went downhill to 0.39%from 0.71%. A brand used to post 11 updates in a week in 2012, and though this number did not change considerably, it was found that brands did begin to receive lower engagement in 2013. Interestingly, a brand from the luxury sector posts as often as an average brand yet it receives twice the engagement. Though the number of fan posts did not witness a big change, brands gravitated towards replying and answered twice as many fan posts. On Twitter in 2013, we were taken aback when we found that every metric had virtually doubled. Brands doubled
their follower base, the frequency of their tweets and the number of tweets they reply to. What’s more remarkable is that brands added five times the new followers as they did in the previous year. While all metrics shot up, the time they took to reply to follower mentions went down. In short, brands replied to more queries and answered them faster than before demonstrating how important Twitter became for brands in 2013. The total number of views on a brand’s channel on YouTube went up from 20 million views in 2012 to 36 million views in 2013. Though the subscribers’ growth rate went down, the subscriber base quadrupled in a year’s time. Most brands continued to add only 3-4 videos in a week, except for brands from the Consumer Electronics sector, which added 11 videos in 2013. This data points to an obvious plateauing of effort on Facebook and a new focus on Twitter while activity on YouTube remains unchanged. 2013 was the year when focus shifted to Customer Service; the number of consumer questions answered shot up, and the time taken to answer them went down. YouTube gave us proof that social media has nurtured our short attention spans with videos getting shorter by the day, becoming 50 seconds shorter. Plenty has changed in 2013 and 2014 is going to be no different now that brands are racing to implement real time marketing and Instagram in to their marketing budgets. While we wait for the changes the rest of the year has in store for us, let’s not forget how much changed in the last year.
Will we ever see great print ads like this here?
Every now and then, I write about this issue. Why on earth don’t we see great print ads in India – especially when we now well in advance when the ad is to be released? Take a look at all these ads, all created for Valentine’s Day 2014. All of us know when Valentine’s Day is, and brands and their creative partners have all the time in the world to get the ads just right. And these are all perfect. The layouts, the headlines, the
body copy and the images and the art direction – all are perfect. Compare these with the ads we’ve seen in our papers for the very same event and we can hang our heads in shame. Each year, brands could plan on ads for Valentine's Day, for Holi, for Dussera, for Diwali, for Christmas, for Onam, and so on -- and we could see great ads. And we don't! When, oh when, will we see ads like this?
The What's-ON report is based on millions of observations seen across multiple platforms
Published on Feb 19, 2014
Goafest is so broke that even fixing will not solve it, says Anant Rangaswami. Lulu Raghavan on brands in a social media age, the World’s mo...