Changing the way we communicate
At 6am daily I would hear a bang outside my house. It would be the newspaper. About a decade ago, the tradition was that every member in the household would read the newspaper to find out what’s new in the region. Alongside the news stories, we’d also glance over the ads for sales or promotions of new launches.
Today, however, the scenario has changed. We’re all consuming news on our smartphones which is targeted to our interests. Hence, we only see promotions of products we’d potentially be interested in as most softwares gauge our tastes and preferences even without manually entering any information. That’s how much the world of advertising has changed. While, unlike before, there are new mediums to advertise products, the messaging needs to be very precise, medium needs to be carefully chosen based on the target audience and advertisers have a bigger challenge to communicate as much information as they can without sounding boring while making the significant interesting.
“There is an evolution from USP driven brands to purpose driven brands,” says Prince Arora, Managing Director of Shell Advertising. “This is primarily a result of commoditisation across categories where brands are struggling to find differentiation. Therefore, brands are dialing into a culture to find a meaningful purpose in order to create a role in people's lives.” Since competition both locally and internationally has increased with many startups who could previously not afford to setup large scale operations are now selling products online, brands have begun to play on a purpose driven strategy.
Moreover, with technological developments in the last few years, the key message delivered needs to be different across different platforms to impact people differently. Consumers are now in control of the media they consume and how they consume it. “Right from news to entertainment, socializing to e-commerce, the digital world has become the go-to platform and an inseparable part of the consumers' life. Hence 'Content has become the new king' and 'Numbers Men & Women are the new king makers’,” says Prince. Sajith Ansar, founder and CEO of Idea Spice Advertising seconds Prince saying: “Influencers on social media are becoming stronger marketing resources and more and media spend is planned around influencers. Smaller nano influencers and digital reviews and ratings are now as important too.”
In-fact, this has led to a dramatic shift in the advertising sector. We are witnessing a ‘Convergence of Creativity’. Where on one hand brands are running promotions online across different mediums, people are highly depending on the opinion’s of influencers or social media personalities for product/service purchase. Hence brands, who’re not tapping into the digital world are surely missing out on a lot.
However, one of the biggest myths surrounding the field of advertising is that going digital is the only way to promote your products. The fact is that there are different strokes for different folks. “The two (digital and print media) are used for very different purposes,” says Aparna Sharma, Founder of Prodigi Connect. “Print media such as billboards, newspaper advertisements and flyers are great for brands with lower product turnover- such as cars, real estate, single product companies (like ketchup, butter, milk, etc.). These products need people to recall them as their 'trusted' brand partners- that's why these brands advertise their products on a large scale in places where the commuters could witness them everyday.” Smaller products which launch new product lines more often such as cosmetics, skincare and food items rely more on impulse purchases, which can easily be achieved through social media. “This is to say that of course, bigger brands can also use digital media- only to establish their brands, though, not to make sales,” she adds. The level of confidence that is required for bigger purchases is quite difficult to achieve with social media promotions alone. For these brands, traditional mediums used innovatively work best. According to Sajith: “Social sharing platforms, websites and industry specific digital platforms also assist marketing. Higher value luxury brand, real estate brands and banks will still use outdoor media and airport advertising to enhance their brand image. This however has to work in tandem with a digital strategy. As consumers attention span rapidly reduces and recall value diminish, brand engagement is key and the emotional tug is critical for brands.”
Sajith also feels that while traditional mediums are declining, where they are combined smartly with new mediums on digital platforms and IOT, they become viable. “Unique billboards that are intelligent and combine a hashtag or a movement now help brands grow their visibility. The mediums used only for brand visibility without a concept or working hand in hand with the digital mediums are failing and the ad revenue doesn't fetch ROI for brands,” he adds.
But these changes have put a lot of pressure on advertisers who’re pushed to constantly come up with out of the box concepts to retain clients. “The agencies now have a better ability to collect and analyse real-time data and pursue a segmented approach to communication rather that 'one creative fits all' approach,” says Prince. “So now, it's no longer about one creative expression based on a strong consumer-insight that agencies look at but rather more personalized communication targeting different segments and addressing their specific needs and challenges. This helps drive greater customer satisfaction, higher brand traction and better returns.”
As time progresses, advertisers also have to keep Virtual Reality, augmented reality, IOT in mind before creating something. In a way, this pushes advertisers to create more and be on their toes, it brings up a question whether all these efforts are actually worth it in terms of finance? Considering markets are globally converging and majority of the SMB brands don’t have exorbitant budgets, advertisers will have to be careful with understanding their creative delivery options and need to diversify their offerings to make sure every sector is tackled differently.