"The world over, marketing professionals and their communication partners are single mindedly pursuing personalization of messaging and even platforms are driving better conversations. A one-size-does-not-fit-all philosophy help clients and brands become more relevant to its consumers. That’s the key mantra to success in this increasingly connected world." Said Ali Merchant, Founder Director, Triton Communications Pvt Ltd.
In an interview with MediAvataar India, Ali shared his valueable insights on all things advertisng, marketing and more.
Here is the complete Q&A....
1. Advertising has sure taken some interesting turns over a period of time in India, what has been your most liked evolvement in the last ten years?
Advertising has become more dynamic and personalized over the last several years.
More number of purpose driven brands have seen an evolvement over last few years. From Dirt is Good to Share the Load, there are lot of brands which go beyond product and emotional benefits, to create a connection with the consumers.
In terms of social change even what we do for one of our clients Eureka Forbes is worth a mention. Aquaguard the No 1 water purifier created the “Jal Daan” (gift of water) Movement, that urged homes with water purifiers to share their safe drinking water with the lesser privileged who visit their homes daily – like the domestic help, the security guard, the driver etc.
The Jal Daan movement has been able to effectively engage people through a simple, doable solution and create a momentum, which is making a real difference to people’s lives. With the monetary contribution, lot of new Community Water Purification Projects have already been set up.
The concept of “branding” budgets, where performance cannot be quantified, is increasingly being replaced by direct response metrics. I believe this is what has re-kindled the passion and excitement in our industry and brought back the challenges in our profession.
2. Which trends according to you dominated India’s Advertising Industry in 2017?
A trend of human stories being conveyed in the most subtle but impactful manner. Ad Campaigns like ‘Salute Toh Banta hai ’(Officer’s Choice Blue)showcased why being human is our first duty.
Marketers exploring new ways of advertising digitally. One such tool that is gaining momentum is advertising through social media applications such as Instagram Stories.
The ‘Make in India’ movement paved way for a number of swadeshi brands such as Patanjali who capitalized on the “being desi” emotion.
Contextual relevance: While content is important, the context is also becoming increasingly important. For e.g Pee Safe, a toilet seat sanitiser spray brand, associated with the film Toilet- Ek Prem Katha.
Ambient advertising With people being always on the move, connecting with them at ‘moments of truth’ is gaining more importance. With brands connecting with consumers at multiple touch points.To raise awareness of the Calcutta School of Music, various bars of Mozart and Hayden were hung on the wires that hang over a busy intersection of Kolkata.
Social issues : Be it movies or advertising, everyone wants to make a difference. From Padman to ads regarding LGBTQ community ads, players are trying to be instruments of social change.
3. Your view on the advertising spends in India.
Advertising spends will grow over the next 3 years at roughly 9% p.a. This will be led by digital, TV and regional press. Radio and Cinema albiet on low bases will grow at 12-15% p.a.
However, the client’s demand on showing ROI on advertising will increase and this will lead to realistic growths across media. Each media touch point will increasingly have to show good ROI. With consolidation across TV, Radio, Print and Cinema, the investment in research to deliver ROI will grow.
4. Digital advertising has surely seen a soaring growth in India, any advice for the advertisers?
Video content advertising is increasing due to falling data rates as well as the rise in the options of video content players. Moreover, an increase in aggregator services provides new advertising platforms in sync with brand propositions. Augmented and virtual realities are set to focus on bringing down content cost next year in order to mainstream advertisements on the platform eventually.
Although twitter is struggling to grow globally, this trend will not be reflected in India as the user base here is growing, specifically due to influencer marketing campaigns. Instagram will become a more valuable channel for advertising than facebook due to better advertising control feature. Facebook as an advertising medium will become obsolete. My advice to marketers using these media would be to focus on the fact that the power of digital truly comes alive in hyper targeting.
5. Any global digital advertising trends that you think Indian marketers should adopt or should not.
The world over, marketing professionals and their communication partners are single mindedly pursuing personalization of messaging and even platforms are driving better conversations. A one-size-does-not-fit-all philosophy help clients and brands become more relevant to its consumers. That’s the key mantra to success in this increasingly connected world.
1. Growth based Data intelligence will be the key in years to come. There are huge data points available through multiple touch points. The clients who are able to convert them into meaningful and actionable work flows will drive their respective categories. This paired with personalization, will be the winner.
2. Human stories well told with Video content will be key for brands to break the communication clutter.
3. Capturing Micro moments, will be critical for brands to navigate a consumer at the last mile. The brands who have the ability to correctly anticipate and address impulsive informational splurges, or micro-moments, by providing the right information at the right time to the customer in need will lead the way. A mobile first approach will be pivotal.
4. A one-size-does-not-fit-all philosophy help clients and brands become more relevant to its consumers. That’s the key mantra to success in this increasingly connected world.
6. Tell us about the shift in Content Marketing today.
There is actually no shift IN content marketing. There is a very pronounced shift TO content marketing. This is a global trend and is becoming increasingly strong in India. Content marketing allows for rich shareable story telling in multiple formats (video, blogs, etc.), and enables scope for great, innovative and fresh creativity.
To reiterate, the shift has clearly been from outbound to Inbound marketing. Instead of chasing people down to show them an ad, content marketers produce the content and let consumers find them. It’s a non intrusive way of reaching out to the consumer. The content allows more time and space to get marketing messages across, than they could in a 30-second commercial or 20-word internet ad. The challenge however is to seamlessly weave the brand story in the content piece, which doesn’t appear to be an advertorial.
7. What are your thoughts on Native Advertising, Video and Mobile.
All the three elements are important to engage with your consumer. However, native advertising is one of the latest answers to companies and brands searching to share experiences with it consumers in a manner that will reverberate well beyond the duration of the video, or spot or blog being used for the messaging. Consumers today have a sense of ownership about the brands they bring into their lives, and therefore want conversations with brands that are meaningful and enduring. Native advertising allows for rich POVs on brands and services. It allows a brand to spread its net farther, and get expert pieces written about it that enables consumers to identify with the brand in an environment that is conducive, non-obtrusive and readily acceptable. The content curation to match the native publisher platforms will be the essence to success, whether its story telling is through text or video. However, a brand cannot survive on this alone. It needs a mix of native and other forms of digital communications to come out a winner.
8. The Indian advertising industry has evolved from being a small-scaled business to a full-fledged industry and it is projected to be the second fastest growing advertising market in Asia after China. Your thoughts on the same?
The advertising industry in India was never really a small-scale business. From the beginning, we have had large MNC agency networks that opened its offices in the country. These grew, proliferated and were instrumental in building acceptance and recognition of advertising as an industry in India. The scenario today is well known, and, as you have mentioned, the advertising market in India is estimated to be the second largest in Asia.
While the industry has grown in terms of scale, a noticeable change has been in the quality of work. With more number of agencies coming in and even smaller ones doing good work, the bar has been raised. Which reflects in the number of awards which India has been winning at the Global level.
I am very bullish about the growth of the Indian economy and therefore very optimistic about the future of advertising in India, starting 2018. The growth indicators are already there, and brands and companies are busy gearing themselves to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving consumer centric market.
9. What are your predictions for 2018?
• Rural India is where lot of action will be. With radio and smart phones playing an important role in reaching out to consumers
• Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are the buzz words, which will gain more prominence in consumer’s life. As brands try to leverage to stay ahead of the competition.
• More consumer engagement ideas will emerge - like Interactive storytelling.
• Social issues will continue to be highlighted by more brands.
• Instagram will continue to become more popular and might emerge as the most popular Social media channel.