Consumers today have a promiscuous relationship with brands. Internet has upended how they engage with brands, too. So for marketers, the old way of doing business is unsustainable. There’s a need for a major adjustment to realign marketers’ strategy and budgets with where consumers are actually spending their time.
MarkUp talks to Rohan Mehta, CEO of Social Kinnect, about how branding and marketing should be done in the digital age.
How has Social Kinnect evolved in terms of adapting to changing markets and trends?
As an agency we have evolved quite a lot, especially in terms of our offerings. Then we’ve quickly branched out to become a full-service digital marketing agency. What that means is that every few months, we set up a new vertical – SEO, website and UI management, blogger and influencer marketing. And last, but not the least, we have set up an internal video-production unit. The perspective behind this was to become a one-stop-shop for all your digital marketing needs, especially for things like video that has grown substantially in digital marketing over the last couple of years. There is a requirement to do a lot of video content, which also has storytelling in its nature. So that’s how we’ve evolved our offering. In early days, we would be convincing clients to adopt digital marketing or social media as part of their marketing strategy. But as years have passed, digital has become requirement of each and every company. Now the questions have changed to how can we promote client more through digital, how can we have a synergetic voice across platforms, both online and offline, and how can we come closer to solving brand solutions.
Should brands stick to one channel to deliver a message or use every channel possible to maximize results?
I don’t think there is any correct answer to that. It really depends on what the trend is. I surely would not say that you should try and use each and every channel. I don’t think it fits in for about 90-95 percent of brands because you spread yourself too thin. Each channel has to find an audience and a voice. Each brand has to find a channel and a voice that they have to put out and then use relevant channels for the same. Having said that, using only one channel for anyone might be counterproductive. So I wouldn’t say one or all, but it needs to be somewhere in the middle that makes sense for your brand.
What trends do you foresee in the digital marketing space?
I see a much bigger use of video. The second trend I see is that advertising will become more native to the experience. By that I mean less usage of banner ads and intrusive ads, and more of ads that would become native to their platforms, like Facebook or Snapchat or even content marketing for that matter. Also, I see a much bigger shift of spend towards the digital space, and I think growth will happen much faster than what is predicted. Even now we are seeing the spends towards digital is outgrowing the projected 25 percent year-on-year pretty significantly over the last few years. I also see a much larger adoption of rural markets on these platforms; so you will see a lot more language-optimized marketing happening, where we are not only targeting the metros, but also tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
What do you feel about the power of new-age content marketing?
I see that as very powerful because all this while, most of marketing has been plain vanilla. You’ll make a message that works for a large part of the mass. That makes the messaging and advertising kind of boring and mundane. Content marketing has a much better way of personalization and targeting so the message, the story, and the brand promise can be customized according to the target audience and that also builds a much deeper connect of the brand with the audience. Secondly, all marketing has always been intrusive where we are taking away someone’s time. Like you are watching a serial and we show you an ad, and you’re not looking forward to the ad. What content marketing is doing is that it is putting the brand at the center of the story, which makes us want to actually consume the content. So in that way content is consumed by choice and not by force. So the attention that a person gives to a message like that is also much more.