Thursday, May 30, 2013

Changing Face of Activation

How strong in our view is the trend of spends moving away from TV and print to the BTL and more experiential and activation led spends?

Its directly related to people and consumer behavior as a whole, consumers are becoming more and more active in choices they make rather than passive in behavior. This doesn't mean mass media is dead and finished but it certainly means the heady days are over and the decline has set in. Activation, Mobile, social media, and a more empowered consumer are leading marketers to develop plans that give consumers the proverbial 360-degree product experience they can’t get from traditional media alone. Activation helps the brand extend Experience, Education, Engagement & Excitement to consumers. 

According to the EEMA White Paper, the Indian Events & Activation industry has grown at over 20 percent during the last two years and is expected to grow to INR 4,375 crore by 2013-14. While these numbers still far behind the mass media numbers but the growth levels are quite intense. Add to this the other experiential and active media spends and the turning tide is obvious.

Some sharp trends being observed in this shift – in terms of quality as well as the quantum of shift? Globally which are the markets leading this shift and also which are the brands (and categories) leading this? 

Key Trends:

- Digital media and technology spurring the growth of BTL media: With the growing penetration of the internet and the mobile platforms, marketers across industries and verticals are focusing on the digital media to drive brand engagement

- The key to brand activation is the marrying of digital media and experiential activation. Consumers love the combination of information at their fingertips and brands experiences around them to make a more educated brand decision.

- Increasing number of Advertising and media groups venturing into activation services - primarily through acquisitions

- Brand Activation becoming a key element of the marking communication strategy and budgets as against being a tactful media. 

South-East Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jakarta are fairly evolved markets for Activation than ours. This is mainly owing to the number of malls and the retail industry being high.
Markets such as Brazil & Mexico are doing some interesting work in the same space as well.

Going forward what do we think would be the emerging face of activation – especially with the huge onslaught of technology and digital mediums?

To me, its a no-brainer, the future of activation lies in the marrying of digital and experiential to create seamless and integrated activation campaigns. Over the past few years, consumer lifestyle has moved towards increased interaction with the digital world. This has developed in multiple ways, email, browsing, social media, e-commerce, mobile phone platforms - gradually, people are developing an alternate digital lifestyle. Not to substitute their real world existence but clearly to complement it to get more out of their lives.

This throws up a lovely little challenge for marketers as much as for marketing communication specialists. How do you communicate to and activate consumers in the real world AND the virtual world in an integrated manner? This is particularly exciting and interesting from a Brand Activation viewpoint. Consumers and internet users are increasingly showing an inclination to buying on the internet in India.

This throws up massive opportunities for brands to create digital engagement platforms with consumers and lead them to the ultimate brand engagement - SALES. Historically, brands have been approaching offline and online as silos and getting commensurate value, the future of brand engagement in the next 10 years lies in making them work in conjunction and getting a value plus!

Some sharp examples of activation leading the way for brand building?

•       SURE, the World’s No.1 antiperspirant brand by HUL wanted to get college students talking about body odour when the product was just launched in India. For this, an internship program ‘Friends of SURE’, a WOM / Peer-to-Peer marketing campaign was conceptualized across India. Students at colleges across the country were invited to join the program as SURE Trainers, who then informed peers about the benefits of using an antiperspirant vs. a regular deodorant or talc and encouraged women to participate in the program by telling them about the hygiene benefits of using SURE. Through this activation, close to 30,000 students registered on ground as SURE trainers, which is about 89% of those who attended the sessions in colleges. 

•       For Pidilite’s Dr. Fixit Pidiproof LW+, the idea was to educate dealers in over 68 cities about the product benefits, and why it is a must-use component with cement. ‘Shaadi Ka Atoot Bandhan’ a wedding ceremony event for the dealers was conceptualized in each city, where the inseparable bond between cement & the product were highlighted. The concept ensured that in times to come, consumers and trade will take home the key objective of ‘whenever one thinks of cement, LW+ is a must-use combination.

•       To create hype for Nissan Micra before its launch in India, the focus was on design and technology to bring alive the new car. For this, a wire-frame replica of Nissan Micra, designed by automobile lover Faisal Nensey, was put on display in 25 cities and over 30 malls to build intrigue for the then upcoming launch of the car. This wire-frame car was then replaced by the actual car, post its the launch in subsequent months. Through the activation, over 6000 leads were generated in six weeks and over 1000 pre-order bookings for the car were done.

•       To introduce Google to smaller towns and cities across India, we took Google to them – literally. A Google Bus was conceptualized & fabricated that went to Educational Institutes & Hot-Spots pan India to demonstrate TG the different Google services, thereby educating them about internet. The bus has touched the lives of over 12,00,000 Indians in more than 125 towns and continues to do more

•       To launch Oreo in a crowded biscuits category in India, the strategy chosen was to dwell on the father-child bond through the togetherness quotient of building relationships. An exclusive fabricated Oreo branded bus was created which was also the mascot for the campaign. The ‘Oreo Togetherness Bus’ brought alive the brand proposition by getting the kids to ‘Twist-Lick-Dunk’ with Oreo cookies through fun games & engaged over 1,00,000 people across 9 cities pan India.
When Cadbury Oreo started its distribution in smaller towns the Oreo Togetherness Bus was replicated into an Oreo Togetherness Mela using multiple Oreo Vans. The objective of activation was to make TG in the 2 & 3 tier towns feel special about Oreo coming to their city. The activity was conducted in 550 towns and cities.  

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