Content is king. Credits: PxHere
by Deoki Muchhal
India is increasingly going online – especially through mobile and wireless devices. According to the latest Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report, of the 481 million Internet users in India, 281 million, or about 58 percent, get access through mobile. Both urban and rural India are increasingly picking up pace with the adoption of internet, and the penetration figure stands at 64.84 percent and 20.26 percent, in urban and rural India respectively.
This is a huge opportunity and new media outlets are making the most of it. New media, which includes digital and social media, is no longer restricted to just keep in touch with your social circle – its impact is now far more widespread. New media are critical for decision-making and consumers have all the information they need, right at their finger tips. This is clear from the fact that about 48% of consumers engage in online research before making any purchase decision.
How are businesses making the most of the opportunity
Businesses have now not only understood the importance and impact of new media, but are increasingly brainstorming on innovative ways to leverage this medium. New media offer brands with critical information such as detailed understanding of consumer behaviour and buying patterns, allowing brands to target them basis interests, geographies, content consumption and demographics. It helps brands reach their niche audience and focus efforts to the relevant audience. The growing popularity of new media amongst businesses is further evident from digital advertising spends growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% to touch INR 12,046 crore by 2018 – standing at 16% of the total ad spends, with an increase of 27% over last year. Today in fact, online households are 3X more valuable than offline households.
Due to the multiplicity of formats including audio, video, live video, webcast, podcasts, and images, brands and businesses have the liberty of sharing information in the mode which best reflects their ethos and is in line with their product, target audience, and strategy. Consumers continue to make most of their choices through surfing on the internet, which works as a great opportunity for the brands to innovate and create a memorable experience for the consumers. With this new digital world, brands are adopting newer ways to relate to the active lifestyle of contemporary consumers, developing and delivering the products that resonate with their expectations.
In the era of fake news, brands need to be more responsible with online communications
However, what is essential to keep in mind is that new media as a platform should be used responsibly – both by brands and consumers. Brands, while ensuring the communication flow should be careful of information overload and consumers, at their end, should be discerning about the information they receive and consume it in the right spirit. Too much information has the downside of leaving the consumer confused, so proper regulation of the information by the brands along with ensuring accuracy while being consistent is key to prevent brand image and ethos from being diluted or tarnished.
Cargill’s brands are embracing content marketing
Closer to home, Cargill, as an organization has taken this very seriously, especially in the context of our brands.
Content marketing is one such activity we have undertaken, across brands, using relevant content to drive interest and create a higher brand recall. Content marketing allows us to leverage the intelligence that we gather on consumers’ interest and create content around it, allowing our brands to reach the target audience without overtly pushing products, through only conventional advertisements. Brands such as NatureFresh and Gemini leveraged their association with Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Boss Marathi respectively, through content marketing.
As an organisation, effectively using the e-commerce platform, is another tool for maximizing consumer engagement. It goes beyond just selling products/brand, to garnering intel on consumers’ shopping behaviour and habits through studying the online buying patterns. Additionally, consumer reviews help us appoint advocates of the product, creating a pull for the products instead of just the brand pushing products through traditional advertising. Brands such as Leonardo Olive Oil, NatureFresh and Gemini are doing this effectively, across target markets.
Yet another way we are leveraging new media is through influencer marketing. The equivalent of celebrity endorsement, influencers can be anyone and everyone, allowing brands access to the world of targeted followers of influencers – an effective way of reaching out to target consumers. However, it is essential that these influencers behave in a responsible manner and work towards communicating information for the benefit of consumers and with the intent to make them aware.
Finally, it can be said that while e-commerce is shortening gap between manufacturer and end consumers, new age media is reducing the gap between information generator i.e. brands and consumers. As an organisation, with these various tools and activities, creating recall for our brands amongst our target consumer remain our focus, aiding to boost consumer loyalty and visibility. This also helps us in telling the brand story through modern channels, which are increasingly becoming more popular amongst consumers. New media or relevant outreach platforms that provide direct nexus to users, is not just a force to not just reckon with, but also use effectively and responsibly.
Deoki Muchhal is the Managing Director for Cargill’s food business in India
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