Industry today is progressing fast and the continuously evolving technologies, emerging social media platforms, streams of memes, viral videos, algorithm updates and increased mobile adoption stand witness to the fact. In our efforts to push the boundaries with our improved and innovative marketing strategies, we need to ensure that we keep up with the swift digital milieu while remaining faithful to the ground rules of brand building.
Shubho Sengupta, an independent digital brand consultant who has previously worked with organisations like Ogilvy and Coca-Cola and whose current focus is to get a healthcare start-up off the ground, explains why digital branding is the new marketing mantra and throws light on the digital marketing scenario in India.
Users Are Spoilt For Choice
“A strong brand building exercise is crucial in this age of digital rage. Though branding has always been essential but when we consider the digital situation and the altering user behaviours, we can identify its clear paybacks. Branding is a device for developing and sustaining a competitive lead. In the clamorous world of digital media, to remain competitive is more of an everyday challenge. Online users are more self-directed now than they were earlier. With huge amount of information and data flowing in at their disposal, users are spoilt for choice. A definite digital brand is therefore vital for characterising your invention or product or service from others,” he said.
Digital Branding Guarantees A Consolidated And Constant Communication
Brands have little power over what is said regarding them in the digital space. Customers have access to the views of other buyers, which greatly influence their buying choices. The online relationship with a buyer hardly ever ends with a deal. Brand building in the digital age should remember this or, rather, cash in on this tend and alter one-time customers to dedicated brand patrons. “It is time we bid adieu to the funnel model. Now, there are multiple touch points where users connect with brands and digital branding guarantees a consolidated communication,” Sengupta asserted.
Digital Platform Amplifies Connect
Branding for Sengupta is all about staying connected. He strongly believes that the digital platform amplifies the connect among brands, people and goods and services. Strong digital branding also enjoys the benefit of earned media popularity from communities, brand advocates and other sources. “Besides taking care about your products or services, branding also looks after your social commitment, sales processes, customer services, employees and everything in between — think about how digital has changed the above,” he added.
Digital Branding Is A Boon For The Smaller Brands
Sengupta calls digital branding a boon for the smaller brands as it is an economic mode to tap the expanding customer base. “The fledgling businesses, which cannot afford TV or print — the efficacy of which are also being questioned — can shape up their brand image on digital platforms. It is time that the small industries, which nonetheless play an important role in the overall economic growth, go for hyper local digital branding. Tier II-III cities have their own dynamics and are sceptical about changes. It’s time for them to modify, adopt and fit into the new equation. Brands catering to small towns need to understand their customers’ behaviour and develop their brand accordingly,” he suggests.
Digital Branding In India Is Not Yet Mainstreamed
“Digital is here to stay. However, the digital branding in India is not yet mainstreamed. The customer base is wide and is present at multiple digital touch points, more so with increasing mobile phone access. India is yet to create a smart digital marketing policy. Live-monitor-engage is the watchword for digital branding that is still not happening in India as the technology is not being optimised. The online campaigns are not monitored here and often brands are left behind the customers in the digital race,” rues Sengupta.“Technology and digital solutions have to come in handy and made relevant to the Indian context. When that happens, we will see a boom. Indian languages are still being deprived of the digital platforms. Hence, opportunities are lost. We are far behind when it comes to technical solutions for content in Indian languages. However, things are changing and with the increase in internet and data download speed, we have just taken a right step forward,” said Sengupta while signing-off.