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‘It’s key to understand how tech serves a brand or a business objective’

e4m Screenage Conference 2022 saw industry heads share interesting instances when they used technology to innovatively promote their brands

Today, technology and innovation have become key in brand marketing in India and across the world. To discuss this and more e4m Screenage Conference 2022 hosted an insightful panel discussion on ‘Leveraging Mobile Technology for Marketing’. Top industry leaders discussed how technology and innovations could create an impactful brand image among the masses.

Titled ‘Leveraging mobile technology for marketing’, the panel was moderated by Niraj Ruparel, Head Of Mobile & Emerging Tech – GroupM India Emerging Tech Lead – WPP India, touched upon multiple aspects of technology like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Metaverse.

Others on the panel were Sonam Pradhan, Head – Integrated Media & Advertising (Automotive Division), Mahindra and Mahindra; Vidya Kailasam Hangal, Consumer Digital Lead, Mondelez India; Naveen Murali, VP – Head of Marketing, Pepperfry; Vishal Singh, India GM & Global Marketing Head, MOCA Technology; Shetanshu Dikshit, Lead Digital Communications, Pernod Ricard, and Vaibhav Odhekar, Co-founder and COO, POKKT.

Ruparel asked the panellists how technology was enabling brands to engage with audience using feature phones in India.

Talking about Mondelez’s engagement with the audience in rural areas mainly using feature phones in India, Vidya Kailasam Hangal, Consumer Digital Lead, Mondelez India said, “When we talk about mobile technology, there is a tendency of being enamoured by the tech that is available, but at the end of the day we have to understand as marketers it is important for us is how technology serve a brand or business objective. During COVID we did a campaign around Bournvita, we knew that there is a conversation around immunity and how we could play a role by providing information as well as partnering.”

She further said, “For a market like Bihar, the penetration of media is not very high and the fact that people using feature phones is higher. We used feature phones to reach out to people who had consented in receiving communications. We sent a piece of message to these people asking whether they would like to receive more information about immunity and if yes we will reach out to them. The people who consented we had a celebrity call them back.”

Responding to Ruparel’s question on how gaming has been evolving for feature and entry-level cellphones, Vaibhav Odhekar, Co-founder and COO, POKKT said: “The perception continues to be that gaming is for the best of the smartphones. The fundamentals of gaming remain the same – that it is immersive and engaging, and if presented in the right fashion the audience is there and they are spending disproportionate time. Also, we believe that it is the right time to connect with them because it is not in the form of a disturbance. To us, it is a largely untapped audience from a monetization point of view. These audiences are largely neglected. They might not be a priority for a lot of marketers and brands but we do believe that it is not a small number and certain priority should come back.”

Taking the discussion further to Augmented Reality, Naveen Murali, VP, Head of Marketing, Pepperfry said, “For Pepperfry as a category, largely 85% is unorganized and consumers still prefer to knock on the wooden furniture. We entered into the market 11 years back, and it was difficult for people to shop for furniture online. What AR did for us that the consumer we were trying to build the journey of the consumer by helping them choose the furniture. Today, we have seen that 1 out of 5 people have used AR while buying the product. AR has helped us get the consumers faster.”

Explaining the use case of AR and technology in the AlcoBev industry for marketing strategies, Shetanshu Dikshit, Lead Digital Communications, Pernod Ricard said, “The context is ICC World Cup and the brand was Royal Stag and we were planning for amplification of the brand message during the event. We created AR packs in which once the code is scanned the consumer could watch all the World Cup glory moments from 1983 to 2011. They had to click a picture with the World Cup trophy. Being the beverage partner we could take a selfie with the World Cup trophy.”

He further said, “With this campaign we penetrated into 380 cities and we used the product as a key hero. Using the festive season and the cricket World Cup and combining it with the technology of AR worked really well.”

Sonam Pradhan, Head – Integrated Media & Advertising (Automotive Division), Mahindra & Mahindra, spoke about the campaign that became a hit for Mahindra & Mahindra. “We did this campaign for Mahindra XUV 500, we asked people to send us a sound which is close to their heart and tag us the location. We made a whole music video with the sounds received by us. We got 5,000 hours of user-generated content which was unbelievable. The campaign became successful with the number of brand engagements with consumers. We connect with consumers on a different level when we connected with them on an emotional level. All this was possible because of a cellphone and technology.”

Talking about mobile marketing and the growing app economy in India, it is expected to grow multifold due to 5G. Vishal Singh, India GM & Global Marketing Head, MOCA Technology said, “In the last 2-3 years because of 4G and then COVID, consumers have started using a lot of apps and new categories have come in, including gaming, lifestyle, education, wellness and learning. If you look at 2021, 13 billion apps were downloaded in India. In 2022, 35 billion apps were downloaded. We are the second largest country in app downloads after China.”

Adding further, he said: “Today lot of transactions are happening on apps now because of what marketers have done with the consumers on those apps. We have integrated our platforms with the OEMs and 45% of these downloads are not from Play Store but integrated with OEMs. 5G would give a more personalized and immersive experience to consumers giving an additional kick to the app market, which would further increase the downloads to 50-55 billion in the couple of years.”

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