Kamla Bhatt sent me a link to this post, and it sparked off a few thoughts. What has worked well on the internet so far is performance advertising/ lead generation. Most people who are looking to building a business around enhancing brand presence on the web seem to be taking a PR oriented route to it. Unfortunately, PR budgets are not large. I think there is an opportunity to take another route.
Someone needs to figure out how to dip into the brand advertising pocket of companies for the internet. Few interesting observations:
- When we talk to using blogs or videos or other social media for enhancing the image, its not just PR – PR often tends to promote people at expense of brands – “Boss’ day out”, “What am I reading” – these are personal profiling tools and seldom help the company/brand. Social media promotions (i promise i will stop using a new term very soon) cuts away from this, and actually helps project the brand
- Conventional PR is about influencing a medium on which one has very little control, and hence very little promise of delivery. On the internet, the understanding and control of medium is far higher, where agencies can take ownership of deliverables such as reach
- Given the large spends on brand advertising, metrics obviously play a big role – be it reach/frequency, share of voice, top of mind recall, etc. PR has relatively fewer (column centimeter of coverage!) Internet has the power to support brand-relevant metrics – again, the trick is not to get lost in clicks and impressions, but to have metrics that are relevant to brand salience, positioning, competitiveness, etc.
Most entrepreneurs looking to do the above are taking a PR approach (retainer fee, best effort basis, tap PR budgets). The opportunity is far bigger, and requires an approach to build a system that enables large scale execution and measurement. Bringing brand advertising on the net in significant magnitude can be a big business. Any takers?
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There is no doubt that this is definitely a significant opportunity and i really like a term that Vijay used, Focus. I think that is a key aspect on the Internet as a branding mechanism as against other traditional media. I think the ability to be able to perform targeted,localized brand building and metrics measurements is definitely not possible in other mediums at the same level today. If you factor that in, even though the market size may not be at the same level the impact could be considerably more.
Lets effectively target the BMW aspiring Urban Indian first. As for rural India, not many people have the answers – even the government – as to how to get to them 🙂
*is reminded too much of work, as it is*
Your accent on “focus” is well received. It indeed is a strength that will offset shortcomings in internet adoption front up to a point. But not entirely because that still leaves out discerning audience (BMW aspiring villager) that could be many a valued customer for a brand.
I feel incentive for innovation will be sub-optimal if the medium has limited latitude. Novelty factors may propel marketers towards a new media early on, but if substantial part of target audience elude it, media plans will get revisited.
“Branding” is what gives a vendor the spunk to charge a premium. You pay $200 for a pair of NIKE shoes not for just what goes into its making. There is a Michael Jordan aspiration attached to it. I feel innovative business models that support brand building over the Net will materialise rapidly if adoption rates improve – all over the world.
Some great thoughts here! Couple of points
– Krish – I think this has relatively little to do with penetration. Even in US, where the penetration of internet is highest amongst all media, I dont see “brand building” offerings in a systemic sense – including performance metrics that are relevant for brand managers.
– The reason why I posted this in “Ideas & Companies” section is because I think there might be a business to be built here. Its not just about whether individual companies have recognized this or not – there will always be early adopters and laggards. I think a smart entrepreneur who understands brand marketing can create a systemic offering here (“brand marketing on digital media”) with all the related aspects of media planning, execution, monitoring etc, and that could be a large business. I have either seen entrepreneurs trying to tap into performance advertising pockets (very competitive), or into PR budgets (very small),
Thanks Alok for the mention and the chain of thoughts it triggered in your mind.
Here are som reandom thoughts that went through my mind when I read your post. Some of the thoughts here have not been fleshed out and are kind of flabby…
It is funny you should mention branding and the role of PR in harvesting new ways of branding since that is a topic that I have been exploring for a while and actually spoke to Rohit Bhargava (digital strategist at Ogilvy and a well-known blogger) who has a book out on branding and personality. In fact, I did a video interview yesterday about branding and personality and how sometimes personalities can infuse branding. I will have a longer interview with him in a bit on the same topic.
I wish there was a way to share what the Kodak head of marketing had to say about branding in this new, new world and metrics and measuring the success of an ad campaign in surprisingly new ways. In his keybnote address at AdTech in SF he spoke at length on this subject and mentioned how they are looking to segment their community of 70 million users to better reach them. But, he is probably an exception (as an CMO) who recognizes the changing paradigm and how to take advantage of it.
I see a shift in strategy esp among US PR firms where they are actively trying to educate and help their customers embrace new media tools to help enhance their brand. In fact quite a few big companies have slowly started to embrace corporate blogging and looking for ways to explore other avenues….but how do you measure the efficacy of the campaign seems to be a sticky issue. One Silicon Valley PR company that is a pioneer in this field pointed out that there is a lot of hand-holding and education that is required and quite a few of their clients are willing to embrace this new, new thing. But guess what most of them happen to be IT companies. The same is not true of traditional companies as the firm pointed out.