Community engagement is the new mantra

VARCA: Advertisers need to wake up to the new mantra: Community engagement.

In today‘s age and time, consumers don‘t really need advertising; they crave for education, knowledge, experience, information, engagement and excitement.
"Advertisers need to show the consumers what the ad stands for rather than simply tell them of it. With the advent of Internet, every brand has got the opportunity to become touchpoints for millions. Engagement is the new frequency," said Contagious Communications president India region Neeraj Nayar.

Promoting communities is the key. Clarifying this thought, Nayar touched upon Pepsi pulling out $20 million from the US Super Bowl in 2009 and instead investing it in a social media campaign. "This was a big change for a company that has spent $142 million on Super Bowl spots over the last decade and has shown commercials at the game for the past 23 years," he elaborated.
Nayar also cited the example of Levi?s ?Go Forth? campaign, in which the brand decided to go back to its roots by aiding the city of Braddock. ?Levi?s was facing stiff competition from Diesel and Gap. But after this initiative, the brand got enormous exposure and consequently became more profitable.?

He stated that ads shouldn?t look like an ad ? only then are they good ads. ?People readily don?t like ads. What normally happens is that during commercial breaks, the costumer is bombarded with ads; this shouldn?t be happening. We should create networks of the unacquainted and delight our customers.?
 Nayar considered the current state of advertising to be similar with a quote from AA Milne?s ?Winnie The Pooh?: ?Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.? He urged advertisers to do away with the conventional ad model and be more creative.

Nayar underlined the importance of thinking "365" i.e. 365 days and not 360 anymore, ?One has to think editorially and engage the consumers real time. Projects, not campaigns, give real meaning and magic to communication.?

"The consumer says, tell me?I forget, show me?I remember and involve me?I understand," he elaborated.

Volkswagen?s Piano staircase and Speed camera lottery were other great examples of people engagement, acknowledged Nayar.

?Give something to people that they want to talk about. Think what?s in it for them. Look at things from their perspective. In the age of digital revolution, one has to lean out of the frame,? Nayar stated.

Nayar concluded his talk by strongly favouring innovations and experimentation. He declared, ?I am part of the 5 per cent club. We should invest at least 5 per cent of our budget on experimentation. Be more Silicon Valley and less Madison Avenue.?

His final advice: ?Be useful, relevant and entertaining. Don?t be afraid of taking risks.?

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