Empathizing with the Digital Marketer

Too much information to relay, innumerable ways of story-telling, desperation of breaking the clutter, apprehension of negative perception is a small list of many factors that brands put rigorous thinking into to become digitally relevant. Because in today’s world, the term “digital relevance” has become synonymous to “relevance”. It has transformed the traditional B2B and B2C world into a C2C world with immense power to the consumer to interpret & spread the brand in a way the companies may have no control over. So how is it that Oreo & Maggi have established themselves so well when big brands like Rahul Gandhi & Mcdonalds have #McFailed in the same scene?

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The first step that marketers need to follow. UNDERSTAND. This understanding is essential to three elements. Where to implement, what to implement and for whom the implementation is done is the foundation of all communication.  For ex, Facebook with all its features, is more communicative & interactive and hence a better medium for sharing vibrant inputs capable for arousing interest.  On the other hand Twitter is more about conciseness and communication of information, and is an ideal medium that facilitates high degree of peer to peer interaction. When it comes to understanding one’s own brand, look at Volvo. They knew exactly what their brand stood for. Safety& Smoothness meant for larger vehicles was how they had positioned themselves which made the “Epic Split” memorable. Lastly, understand the consumer. As a facilitator of change and a symbol of new thinking, BJP and Narendra Modi understood what void in the consumers mind they were filling and delivered it consistently across all platforms to conquer the 2014 elections.

Once you’ve understood them, ASSOCIATE. More and more companies are now working with Twitter to identify upcoming trends among consumers to gain their share of voice and associate. Cadbury Oreo had a specialized team working on dynamic social media operations during the Super Bowl. Amul, albeit mostly traditional, comes up with brilliant links with day to day events that not only arouse interest but increase connect. As soon as Suarez performed an “Italian bite” this world cup, Brand like Snickers and Dominos rushed to become a part of it, and with considerable success.

Now, ENGAGE. Everybody likes personalization. And only the brands that can “mass personalize” themselves will win. See Maggi. After having conquered the “2-minute proposition”, Maggi knew the brand now belonged to the consumers. It had entwined itself in the culture of the country. And thus it started interacting with consumers directly. For new ideas, new variants. Kitkat, recently, sent a box ffKitkat Dark to a consumer’s home who mentioned on Twitter, how she was craving for it. Kitkat identified a potential focal point and ensured that they own it. Later, the same consumer, retweeted this incident thrice. So, Engage.

Finally, TRANSFORM. In future, only the loved brands would survive. And that will only happen, if the brand evolves with the consumer. Something Microsoft couldn’t do, but Old Spice did. From moving to “Make-Love-Not-War” from the earlier tawdry proposition, something Axe has done and gained worldwide appreciation. Only then can the Brand really stand the digital test of time. Only then will it be able to permanently make an emotional position for itself. Afterall, “emotions are loyalty beyond a reason”, and the brands that thrive in the future will be based on emotion, not reason.


Shishir (aka Shirshir) is a PGP1 student (2014-16) at IIM Ahmedabad

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