Day 2 of the International Conference on Social Media for Business saw the 3rd panel discussion of the conference. The customers of today have evolved; the advent of social media has ensured that the communication between consumers and brands is very immediate and direct. According to Mr. Sanjay Mehta, CEO, Social Wavelength, "The customer of today likes or comments or tweets about the brand as soon as he sees a banner or an ad. If a marketer waits for then conventional marketing responses, he is likely to lose out on a lot of customers."
In these changing times, speed of marketing responses has become a critical success factor. The traditional way of having annual marketing plans and running up the organisational ladder will very soon become obsolete. Moreover, the front-end of marketing is in much more direct contact of customer expectations and consequently, they are in a much better position to deal with them. Mr. Ummed Singh, Head-Marketing, ColorPlus Fashion Ltd., said, "It is very necessary and beneficial to empower the marketing teams, they are in constant contact with the customer and are the torch bearers of the brand."
With the response time becoming very short, real time marketing, in its essence has become very important. Brands have began capitalising on the various situations that keep arising through rela time marketing. "All real time marketing efforts need to have high visibility but more importantly, they need be relevant to the context and meaningful", said Mr. Manuj Bajaj, Vice President (Marketing), GreyBox Technologies.
Just to put things into perspective, the tools of real-time, location-based marketing and e-tailing are essentially to solve or mollify customer problems. These tools, if utilised via social media properly, can provide the quintessential solutions to what the customer wants, when he wants it and how he wants it.
Panel Discussion: Creating and building brands in the digital world
Societally speaking, there has been a sea shift in the basic driving ideology behind marketing, especially advertising. Marketing, has become more about a purpose - what the customer wants can simply no longer be confined to positioning, it has to be about a specific purpose. Mr. Aswath Ganesan, National Strategy Director, Social@Ogilvy, Ogilvy&Mather, pointed, "The desire of all brands is to be long-lasting, like Superman. However, as time progresses, brands have to realise that they have move from an image [positioning] to an idea [purpose]."
Brand creation is not just about the market, it is also about how those brands affect people's lives. In order to create and build sustainiable brands, it is important for the forces behind these brands to understand that the current social media vehicles are an easy doorway into what people want, what their motivations are as opposed to simply having a social media presence. "Social media is more about social sciences of culture than social technology", said Mr. Atulit Saxena, COO-Brands, Futurebrands.
There are a lot of peripheral factors associated with brand building. Brands, in a more digital sense, are what they are perceived as. No brand in the current scenario can survive in its communication without being perceived as valuable, especially by the target audience. Mr. Varun Gupta, Marketing Manager, Dharma Productions, said, "Even with everything else remaining the same, brands survive on their perceived value by the TG."
Brand building is essentially very experiential - brands are built on user experiences. The very process of brand building is continuous and cyclical in nature. Digital media enables marketers to get in touch with the emotions of the customers constantly and evolve the brands with changing times, it is here that the real potential of digital media lies.
Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature, first said, "All good things must come to an end." No matter how hackneyed this idiom becomes, it never loses its pertinence. After two days of learning and introspection, the International Conference on Social Media on Business came to an end.
Mr. Anand K. Pillai, Senior EVP & CLO, Reliance Industries and Member WEF, reiterated the importance of social media to management graduates and corporate employees. On the issue of using social media for recruitment, he said, "A potential recruiter will know about you even before you tell him anything about you. It is important to stay aware about the kind of digital footprint we leave."
On the issue of importance of social media to the governmental machinery, Mr. Aman Singh, Principal Secretary, Government of Chhattisgarh, said, "Any government needs to look outside the offices and into what is going on in the lives of the common people... Social media is going to impact 160 out of the 540-odd seats in the 2014 General Elections." Towards the end, it was also brought about that while media vehicles and platforms are important, the real strength of social media lies in its calibration with the culture, both local and global.
It is important to understand that all the research and discussion on social media not only underlines the importance of this platform but also points to the vast potential of this media, not just for interaction but also for value creation. Nevertheless, the successful conclusion of the International Conference on Social Media for Business 2014 is another feather added in the cap of Indian Institute of Management Raipur. Kudos to all those involved for all the efforts, blessings and opinions.
This post was written by Jayesh Surisetti, PGP 2013-15. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org