Virtual Is The Way Ahead

A new year means another fresh start  , another slew of challenges to be overcome by marketers . Every year witnesses radical shifts in marketing strategies and gimmicks . Ditto will be the case this year too.

Death of Traditional Media

Proliferation of social media and the ubiquitous nature of the net will sound a death knell to the traditional form of marketing. People’s virtual avatar is slowly superseding their real one’s  and the web is the place where the next battle to garner people’s mind space will be waged. The traditional mode of marketing will take a backseat as more and more marketers in droves will seek out more innovative channels to connect with their consumers online.

Nike – The Chosen One

Last year saw companies across every line of business putting in concerted efforts to increase their web presence. Nike, which has always been a pioneer in digital marketing, unveiled its new ad campaign –“ The Chosen”  on the popular social networking platform  Facebook , not on TV . To generate more buzz for the campaign,  a video contest was placed  which invited viewers to submit their own videos of extreme action sports . The finalists were selected by a panel of judges and the winner was dubbed as “The Chosen One”, as he got the golden opportunity to experience the life of a Nike Pro Athlete for a year. The most notable thing about this campaign was Nike’s decision to launch it on Facebook and then later on national television during the NBA finals , which is a clear testimony to the rising power and business potential of this medium .

Automakers  Going Social

Last year saw companies, which previously had minimal presence on the web ,  jumping on the digital bandwagon . Launches in the Automobile industry  have traditionally been confined to auto shows. But this year marked the debuts of a host of new models on social platforms . Traditional companies like Ford , which has consistently in the past used the auto expo shows to showcase their products amidst a lot of glitz and glamour , changed their stance when they unveiled their new – Ford Explorer Model on Facebook . To make the launch more interesting , they even randomly selected a fan to give away a free Explorer. To invest so heavily in a previously untested medium seemed to be a wise choice on part of Ford especially when you take into account the fact that Ford is relatively doing well compared to its beleaguered competitors  and such novel engagements with the consumers will only keep it ahead of the pack  .

IKEA- Bring Your Friends

It is however, just not enough to have a mere online presence. The way a company chooses to engage its consumers and whether or not it manages to sustain the interest level will be a key determining factor . IKEA took consumer engagement to a whole new level when they decided to make a donation to a non profit organization “ Save The Child” everytime somebody likes their page on Facebook. Not only that they decided to host a “Bring Your Friends” gala event in USA where they offered freebies and discounts to anyone who liked their page on Facebook. Such aggressive usage of the social platforms not only reinforces your brand’s positioning but manages to generate a strong buzz and a feel good factor about the brand.

Viral Is The Way Ahead

Success stories like – “Why This Kolaver di” or the Blair Witch Project substantiated the internet’s power of making one’s brand an overnight success . Above two are classic examples of online viral campaigns executed seamlessly and it also drove home the fact that one no longer has to rely on traditional media to showcase their products.

Shock Thy Consumers ….

With every company worth its salt joining the fray, the key factor that will determine survival of one’s brand , is the extent of online engagement . With consumers being bombarded by a zillion messages, smart marketers have to make sure that their communication can rise above the din and be unique. If the message is unique and compelling ,rest assured there will be takers too as the above cases testify. Your message must have a “shockability” factor, something  which was aptly demonstrated in the recent ” Unhate” campaigns of Benetton which featured some of the World’s powerful leaders locking lips . Though the campaign is facing a potential legal suit from different bodies , from a marketers perspective it worked like a dream as people remembered and reacted .

The tried and tested methods of the yore  will no longer be relevant in a rapidly evolving consumer landscape. Only those marketers who dare to be innovative and show a huge appetite for risk taking will be taking home all the honors .

Bennettons Unhate Campaign