Digital trappings: Brands lobby for influence in a data-rich world

Earlier this year, Google Maps team rolled out its #LookBeforeYouLeave campaign to remind commuters to check Google Maps’ real-time traffic updates on their phones before hitting the road. Sapna Chadha, Google’s head of marketing in India and Southeast Asia, writes about the exercise in her blog, saying how her personal experience of being stranded in a flooded street in Delhi influenced the campaign.


Local insights, contextual understanding, and rigorous experimentation, she writes, helped serve relevant creative to consumers in India. Google ran an integrated media campaign on digital (online video and social) and traditional (radio, TV, and OOH) channels in eight key Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata).


For Google, the understanding and mobilisation of data at its disposal is a heady task. More information does not always translate into more effective marketing communication and for marketers across the board, managing the data to deliver a coherent and effective narrative has been a big concern through the year.


Data allows you to map, target and deliver relevant content says K V Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer at HyperCollective. He warns that there is many a slip between the data and the customer insight that marketers draw from the numbers at their disposal.


The enormity of the task has given rise to numerous small companies, some start-ups operating out of a single room, to help brands and retailers navigate the space. Jasmeet Thind is co-founder CoutLoot, a social offline-to-online (O2O) commerce platform that makes e-commerce easily accessible and available to the long-trail of small-scale sellers and businesses in the unorganised market. It works with sellers in metros and tier-2 and 3 markets to help them adopt the social platforms and deliver what customers want. He says that the data they sift through is layered with insights and these indicate that the Indian consumer behaves differently online from her counterparts in other countries.


“The online Indian consumption while still in its early stages is super interesting. Unlike using super apps or centralised platforms for all categories, Indians love to use specific platform for specific categories, unlike in US or China where Amazon & Alibaba are major transacting platforms,” Thind says.


Not always do Indian consumers behave differently. Anurag Avula, co-founder and CEO, Shopmatic points out, “There is a growing interest amongst users to support indigenous and small scale businesses. Organic products directly from the valley or tribal artwork and handicrafts are extremely popular and find a great demand amongst buyers.” The need to do good, feel good and create a sense of well-being are what consumers across the globe want.


Ashish Mishra, managing director, Interbrand says, “It boils down to creating meaningful narratives of the changing technology for people.” Brands have also sought to find the most effective way to talk to and engage with the consumer and in 2019, short-form videos have emerged as the most chosen form of communication. According to a report by BCG, digital video consumption has almost doubled in the past two years. It has increased from 11 mins/day to 24 mins/day over the past two years. Over 2018, this has been driven by: 10-15 per cent increase in number of sessions and 15-25 per cent increase in average time per session.


Advertisers are drawn to the huge potential of video and no wonder then that Chadha writes, “A crucial channel for our target audience (for the Google maps campaign) was YouTube, so we used real-time data signals to develop dynamic and contextual digital ads that were served across the platform.”

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