Malvika Mahal, New Delhi
Ambient Media in the Indian Scenario is a relatively newer term but its acceptance amongst the marketing fraternity has picked up really fast in last few years as such media helps dominate presence to a target audience group with marginal brand investments as compared to the traditional way of advertising on billboards. It can as well be used in conjunction with the mainstream traditional outdoor media or used equally effectively as a standalone activity. Bringing the same in to the light we interviewed Dharit Parikh, Business Head, Interspace Solutions on the same. Below are the edited excerpts.
What is the current stature of Ambient/On-Ground advertising in Indian advertising industry?
The Indian advertising industry has evolved from being a small-scaled business to a full-fledged industry. The advertising and marketing sector in India is expected to enjoy a good run. Ambient and on-ground advertising in true parlance composites each other in building experiential marketing.
Growth is expected in experiential advertisement, on the back of factors such as several players entering the food and beverages segment, e-commerce gaining more popularity in the country, and domestic companies testing out the waters.
Where do these two kinds of advertising stand in the brands' marketing initiatives?
Brands are now discovering the real truth of marketing, that when it comes to influencing your customers there is nothing better than making your customer experience your brand. It is the best way to connect with your customer and become friends.
With the emergence of new brands and products, penetration level in media grey markets makes experiential marketing work. This encompasses Outdoor, On-ground and Cinema, which is 10% of overall contributor to media, spends.
Ambient advertising is not a new term for Indian advertising industry or for brands; however, the industry hasn't played around it well. What do you think is the reason? Is this because brands don't want to experiment or lack of knowledge?
Ambient Advertising is about placing ads on unusual objects or in unusual places where you wouldn't usually expect to have an advertisement creating maximum traction with their target audience. It is not restricted to any shape or size (size doesn't matter!).
Ambient OOH is the future and with the growth of digital and technology in this space, it will lead to accountable and engaging communication with the consumer in a relaxed mind frame.
The very fact that it gets placed where and when it is least expected, in a country where resources are limited, permissions to execute makes it relatively a distant term, but ambient has been used widely in the West for a while now. Ambient provides the creative folk with many more ways to tell a story.
Mostly considered under BTL marketing, On-ground is one of the ways which bring consumers and brands on a common platform but still under-rated. Who should be blamed for this- brands or agencies?
Brands most often use BTL marketing either to enhance and complement a traditional advertising campaign or to stand out at a popular event or conference. However, as internet virality gains more and more influence, many brands have begun executing experiential marketing campaigns that exist on their own.
With emergence of digital, pure manpower led BTL activities has taken a shift in thought process but if integrated well which is called 'Digital Activation' brings that 'Shift' especially in highly digital penetrated markets, with rest of India BTL is yet the medium of conversions and conversations.
Infact, last few years have proved to be a budding year for on ground marketing. For what used to be an afterthought, BTL marketing is swiftly becoming a key tactic in many advertising campaigns. Hence, it's a myth that it's under rated.
Very often On-Ground is misunderstood as the educating platform than the interactive platform and majorly utilized for rural marketing. Do you agree to this? If yes what can be the solution?
On ground marketing is a technique where a brand is marketed using the 5 senses of the body so as to develop a strong connection with the target audience. The whole concept behind this is to let the person experience the brand before the purchase has been made. These five senses are communicated for greater impact in form of 'Infotainment' (mind it not being preachy!)
The Chinese smartphone producer, OnePlus (everyone knows its sold by referrals) who made a gigantic build-up amid the launch of its flagship gadget, carried out several customer engaging exercises like fan meets, popups, photo-walks, and so forth to enable users to encounter the handset directly.
Erstwhile, Homeshop18 had launch mobile aided shopping experience. At the Delhi airport, the virtual wall was shown to passengers with the range of products, they could scan the QR codes of the products on their mobiles after which they are directed straight to the website, where they could have the product delivered at home and even can pay cash on delivery, this is on ground which is not restricted to Rural.
Now there are various avenues to execute some international standard at locations like Cyber Hub and other business parks and world-class malls. How can the industry just move beyond display and interaction?
Erstwhile, standalone popup activity made a difference and drew people's attention, but with growing urbanization and availability of avenues, the media clutter forces brands to build 360 degree experiences. This therefore increases the task to raise consumer awareness amongst the plethora of brands under the same roof.
To create and build campaigns beyond display and interaction, destination mapping is essential. Consumers journey within the destination should be mapped with brand preposition and relevant media avenues (where consumer's receptiveness is high) thereby communicating your presence for them to pay a visit to you for the experience or a bait, which ever works the best.
How do you see both -Ambient & On-Ground growing in the year 2017 in terms of better ideation and industry share?
Some people think Marketing is about selling. Partly it is true because that is the ultimate goal of marketing; however, it is more than just selling.
It's about strategies in getting the attention of target customers. Apparently, it is focused on effective advertising more than just effective selling. When we hear of advertising, we tend to think of companies that are advertising their products on mass media such as television and radio programs. These are advertising campaigns on a large scale but for most brands, there are other forms of marketing that don't carry such a large commitment and outlay.
Agencies like ours are building practices to present an Ambient and On-ground encompassed plans which build an opportunity for marketer to create experiential plan.
With Digital at our advantage a clever graphic on a park bench or side of a lorry or a clever piece of point of sales within a shopping centre, in fact anything that will get a brand seen and remembered, at that point it can be seen by a handful of people but if good enough activity it could be shared by millions on social media, with the use of Digital. This overall practice of Digtial Activation is what going to be a continued mantra for 2017.