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“Use of social media is good when it adds value to communication strategy”

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MUMBAI: Social-mobile-video marketing is an area waiting to be explored, at least in the Indian context. However, players like Digital Quotient - which already has a presence in the field with over 70 staff across key locations in India - will continue to enjoy a first movers’ advantage over those who come after them.

Indiantelevision.com’s Priyanka Nair got Digital Quotient COO Vinish Kathuria to speak at length about the changing digital ecosystem, social media and everything in between…

How have the demands of marketers from the digital platform changed in recent years?

The Indian digital ecosystem is changing positively over the last decade. Marketers are trying their level best to catch up with consumers’ needs in the digital world. Today, digital is a must-have media vehicle. Gone are the days when we were asked, “What can be done on digital?” The need of the hour is how to take communication to the next level on digital. Tangible and controlled experiments are what brands expect from digital agencies today.

With changing consumer demographics, it is necessary for digital agencies to have a clear idea of the business objectives of various brands. At Digital Quotient, we look at campaigning for a brand from a very strategic point of view. I think that should be the approach taken by agencies today.

How is social media gaining importance in a marketer’s communication plans? Are the brands getting it right in terms of social media?

It can be noted that every brand wants to have a social media presence. While some brands are getting it right in terms of social media, many others need to revise their approach. The first thing that brands should stop doing is racing towards fetching more likes. The question that brands which are looking for business should ask themselves more often is: “Does it add any value to the communication strategy?”

Brands should understand that on social media, timeliness is of the utmost importance. A social media user has a different mindset. Brands should ensure a strategy whereby consumers are not left with stale or outdated content. Engagement mechanism is a must for social media branding. On the other hand, there are many brands which are using social media purely for post consumer service. This is an interesting move. Social media is now definitely a medium that cannot be ignored but it is up to brands how they shape up strategies that are worthy of attention.

What are the key things that brands should keep in mind to build a healthy social media conversation? 

It is just like any other marketing medium that needs to be accepted first. Though social media is largely technology-driven, it is emotional connect and remembrance that matters for consumers. It can be observed that content is taking different shifts over the years. From text-heavy content, brands are today looking at making a splash on social media through videos and pictures. Humanising content is what makes any social media conversation healthy.

Mobile has still not been leveraged to the best of its capabilities by Indian brands. What is your observation on this?

Earlier, conversations were very telephone-led but today, marketers are jumping into the mobile fray. It is for reach that marketers are looking at mobile as a communication platform. Brands need to take a cue from how global marketers are looking at social and mobile integration. There is much learning that comes from there, which is noteworthy. One thing is clear with the current numbers: India will soon lead the charts when it comes to mobile reach.

Brands are betting big on video in digital campaigning. How can brands further optimise the use of video?

There are many brands that roll out TVCs on social media. TVC is the easiest replication that a brand can do but clearly, it is not an ideal one. That is what brands are getting wrong when it comes to video. It is very important that brands create videos that are shareable. Brands need to start using different formats such as Vine or Instagram. Content curation is something that brands are leveraging on while creating videos.

Do brands understand the power of big data?

Understanding big data needs different skill sets. It is relatively new to decode for many professionals. Numbers driven from big data are fascinating and are like an asset that marketers can put to use. Time will help marketers discover the power of big data. 

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