Most of us are easing into the new normal, but we can't help but wonder if we will go back to our way of life before the COVID-19 outbreak struck us. While some countries are quickly recovering from the virus attack, it is far from over for a few as they are still grappling with the virus. The pandemic has caused many organizations and industries to suffer as companies are wondering how to improve customer experience in the new normal.
The digital customer journey has changed rapidly ever since the pandemic, transforming their purchase pathways. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented event; however, businesses should be prepared for a return to 'normal,’ such as adapting to current circumstances and understanding the ever-evolving online consumer behavior and customer needs.
The spending sentiments of consumers have been different across different categories. While the demand has significantly increased for daily essentials, at-home entertainment, healthcare, and education, there has been a dip in need for travel, outdoor recreation, real estate, and automobiles. With the growing income uncertainty, consumers are wary about where they spend their money and how they spend it.
Research points out that the fundamental themes will create different types of behavioural changes in the digital customer journey, some long-lasting than the others. The themes include:
Acceleration of existing trends
Since consumer behaviour was already moving towards these trends, they have the potential to become permanent shifts that are linked to positive reinforcements. Consumer behaviour shifts include:
As the name suggests, this type of consumer behaviour pertains to developing new habits during the pandemic. While it is too early to determine how long this behaviour would stick around, consumers who gain from implementing it are bound to retain this habit. The trends under this type of consumer behaviour include:
The global viral outbreak period is truly about understanding your customer's needs in the new normal and improving customer experiences that would cater to these needs. By putting your customers’ interests first while marketing during COVID-19, this can be a time for your company’s brand to lead.
**Statistics and details pertaining to this blog have been obtained from the Facebook and BCG report - Turn the Tide Unlock the new consumer path to purchase
When you live the brand, it is so much easier to build it. Simeran Bhasin, Co-Founder of Innerwear Brand, BRAG, has lived by this policy that has constantly helped her gain over two decades of experience with brands across diverse consumer segments including kids, youth, and luxury. After having worked with Fastrack by Titan, Manipal Hotels, Britannia, and Wildcraft in 2014, she turned entrepreneur and launched India's 1st and only young girl focused Innerwear brand - BRAG, in 2016.
During our webinar series, Simeran Bhasin shared her journey of working with some of the most iconic brands, her insights on making a campaign successful for GenZ, and how she scaled up Fastrack, Wildcraft, and now BRAG at a national level. Throwing light upon her learnings throughout her journey, she believes that it’s important to stay true to the brand essence and that each brand should find a way to become relevant to its consumers in order for it to become a success.
Starting with your journey with Fastrack - from watches to a lifestyle brand for the youth, was the transition easy?
“Everyone in the team at Fastrack was excited about trying something new. I always believed that we have to live the brand to build it and connect with it. That was our starting point. In a company like Titan, the transition was easy. Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Titan. It’s the organization that allowed us to explore innovative avenues for the brand. It’s comparatively easier to build a new brand from scratch or with a relatively smaller brand that is open to experimentation.”
How has it been like to scale brands with national presence?
“It’s simply the amalgamation of a universal business insight, a relevant product insight, and the brand insight that gives the nationality and scalability of the brand across the country. Simultaneously, working on the other aspects of the brand to understand the consumers comes into play that help in scaling brands on a national scale.”
How did the insights garnered from other brands help in building BRAG?
“One has to put oneself into the consumer’s shoes. We were always building a brand for ourselves. Having human bodies come in indefinite shapes and sizes, making the age-appropriate product and creating age-appropriate communication were some of the key parts of BRAG’s brand strategy. With some key hits and misses from the brand, having multiple channels explored, and a direct-to-consumer approach, it all fell into place.”
How would you define BRAG’s vision and why did you pick this particular brand name?
“Brag’s vision has always been “To bring girls’ innerwear out of the closet and onto the streets”. It inspires and aspires for women to speak. Product stereotype, business model stereotype, and the gender stereotypes were the hurdles that we jumped to create the brand. BRAG- the name was short, simple and it connected with our target group. We, as marketers, need to make it simpler for the consumers. The aim was always to leave behind a legacy and create an impact, however, we have seen the definitions of impact change every few months. The priorities shifted from having a cool product to a comfortable one. It’s been a vertical learning curve.”
Insights, Hits, Misses, and more...
“The approach was never to start off as a direct-to-consumer brand. 95% of India shopped for innerwear from offline stores. The game has changed now. Indian retailers have always been a tough nut to crack but they saw BRAG as an opportunity. Our biggest validation came from them. Soon, we were on leading brands’ radars. BRAG’s biggest selling product was for tweens but we were targeting teens. That was an opportunity from the brand to tap onto which gave birth to Ms.Brag (beginner bra for tweens), contributing to 80% of the revenue. The biggest learning for us was to change the consumers (especially teens) mindsets and selling the idea of ‘comfort’ with innerwear, who were habitual to a conventional bra. It was more difficult than convincing a beginner. Switching is a very big challenge and we faced too many barriers. The girls loved what the product looked like, more than what it felt like. Some very strong cultural nuances like these would come up in conversations, revealing external-driven purchase processes. For example, how is it fitting vs how is it looking during the trial sessions? So changing behavior was one of the learnings.”
What according to you are the key drivers to build a brand for GenZ according to you?
“Building brands is not just about identifying the demographic and we tend to get caught up in this a lot. It’s the mindset of the youth in the context of the age segment that is more important. Today, youth brands include Levis and we have seen 70-year-olds wear Levis. They are young at heart. At Fastrack, we defined it as the ‘campus-mindset’ that exists in older generations and younger ones too but the center of the gravity of the mindset is always on the campus. If we get stuck at the age, we still might go too wide and won’t be sharply defined brands. GenZ is extremely authentic and honest as consumers, and they are aware of almost everything, from gender-sensitivity to democracy. When they consume content, they are much more opinionated that previous generations.”
Marketing strategies and channels - what was so different about BRAG?
“Balance between communication for the teens as well as the mothers was crucial. How will the brand look like if the consumer came across the content and how would a mum see it. In the case of tweens, it’s the mother who is taking the user to the product. Hence, we are doing education for the mothers but it’s in the voice of a young girl and we have a separate brand presence on social media for that. Indirectly, communication is what a mum would relate to. It has to be more fun and less awkward, all of that coming from a tween girl to her mother. The trust is built differently hence a separate platform is dedicated to that audience set. As a brand, we also cannot forget to talk to the other set of consumers who have their own voice (the teens) because that might backfire. The content has to be relatable to both the groups.”
New Market Segment Vs Competing in an Existing one - what are your thoughts?
“Playing within the segment is relatively simpler because we don’t need to sell the relevance of the product. For a new segment, you have to build awareness around the need from scratch. That takes a lot of effort and it was the biggest learning for me. It’s not only about creating awareness for the brand but also of the need. Behavior change takes a lot more effort. The risk also revolves around being too early in the market. In the case of existing competition, we need to convince people that what they are buying is not good enough.”
Changing strategies, Changing times during Covid-19 - any message for the branding agencies?
“Marketing is largely a variable expense. Given that there are fewer brands in the e-commerce space, marketing budgets will reduce. Brands are going to cut down projects. For agencies, It's also crucial to recognize ongoing expenses, make operations leaner, and pick smaller projects to meet expenses and keep the cash flow going. It also comes with figuring out of the box solutions towards communication and media, which was probably not part of the mandate in the past. Being overly supporting and going beyond the original mandate will be much appreciated. Humanizing the decisions is the key when it comes to supporting employees...”
Building a brand’s digital community - what should be the starting point of this?
“Ensuring the ‘why’ in place is crucial. Clear purpose, brand persona, brand tonality need to be in place, along with having a strong target group in mind, keeping your communication streamlined. The sharper it is, the greater the chance of success would be. Every brand is online today and everyone is saying they are cool. We should also be very clear on what we will not do or talk about and it should be all part of the brand too.”
Can Purpose become the Brand’s Voice?
“Yes, the purpose can become the brand voice. The purpose can go hand in hand with the brand’s personality and can be used to communicate the end goal. We talk about things that matter to the brand. It may or may not directly talk about the product sometimes. Today, all of us are curating our feeds based on interest so every creation of the brand revolves around the interest. You will attract consumers of that kind.”
Watch the complete session of Simeran Bhasin in conversation with Social Beat. Feel free to drop your questions if you still have questions for Simeran.
There are many things uniting us during this lockdown. One of which is our online content consumption, particularly videos. Does it feel like you’ve seen everything? Admit it. At some point, we’ve literally become one of the several memes we share daily.
Btw, my favorite pasta sauce (Arrabbiata FYI) tells me I eat healthy, read a lot and bring happiness to people. So… I have new goals for this month in lockdown.
As a consequence of the pandemic and uncertainty of the future, we are all dealing with anxiety and stress, literally keeping us up at night. Being restricted indoors and being inundated with grim news definitely doesn’t help. There has been a rise in good news movements across the world to bring some hope and positivity to people.
We are actively seeking, looking at, and sharing meaningful content to boost each other in these strange times, to stay connected as we socially distance ourselves.
It’s the ideal time for brands to publish content that can leave a lasting positive impact. Let’s talk numbers. 92% of marketers say video is an important part of their strategy as it provides positive ROI. 65% of users watch over three-quarters of a video and 92% of users on their mobile devices tend to share videos with their circle.
Here are some video types you can explore at this time (and where we can help!):
Let’s pretend we are in college and get back to the basics: boot-strap filmmaking. The idea plays a bigger role than the production quality. Sony Pictures & Kalyan Jewellers recently provided this gem which managed to connect all of the Indian audiences. UpGrad got some stars to film themselves at home to encourage upskilling while we sit at home.
With all of us missing the good ol’ office days, Tata Cliq came to us to create a campaign that could soothe work-from-home blues. While content surrounding employees missing workplaces already existed, we decided to tell the story from a different perspective. The campaign film is narrated through different inanimate objects around office, telling employees #YouMadeItCliq. The film was executed using purchased stock footage and voice-overs from different theatre artists and radio jockeys to bring the objects to life.
After Team Social Beat went into work-from-home mode, we produced a home-made video to check-in and remind each other the proper way to wash hands. For Earth Day, we published a video made entirely from copyright-free videos sourced online. Using in-house talent to get the narration in place and minimal text narration, we encouraged people to remain conscious of the use of the earth’s resources, even after lockdown.
There are several ways a video can be executed even with the on and off-screen talent sitting in their own homes. The video content is what sets it apart. While different themes can be explored, the two popular routes we see at this time is humour and the social/empathetic route. It’s crucial to focus on the message of the video as, in this scenario, the idea trumps production quality.
These videos can be used across channels to engage with your audience. As YouTube ads to social media posts and stories, depending on the type and duration, these videos can be churned out relatively quickly. Ideal to stay relevant, tap into trending topics, and publish timely content.
An easily communicable disease making its way across the globe can be pretty terrifying, more so for those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Dr. Reddy’s reached out to us to create a film for their nutritional health drink, Celevida. The campaign film, #WinLifeEveryDay, showcases the key benefits of the health drink being a nutritional supplement for diabetics, supporting immunity and helping fight against infections.
Another group of people who are home and are experts at producing home-made videos that can help promote your brand in an authentic way - influencers.
Influencer marketing campaigns are a no-brainer in the current climate. Not only do we consume a lot of influencer videos, we are guilty of turning into mini influencers with posts on new workouts, recipes, hobbies, and more! Even those of us who swore off TikTok have now participated in and posted our TikTok challenges. This is a safe space, you can admit it.
Our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in, has an extensive database of more than 40K influencers across categories like lifestyle, health, fashion, food, entertainment, and more! With the ban of TikTok in Jun 2020, there are a host of TikTok alternatives that have come up in India too.
For Himalaya Quista Pro, we partnered with influencers to share home workout tips and routines. boAt took to TikTok with the campaign #boAtheadStayINsane, creating challenges that can be done indoors and encouraging the audience to do the same. With social distancing in place, Khatabook took to TikTok to tell shopowners not to worry, they just need to download the app to get their pending payments.
Since people are indoors and available, it’s a great time to go LIVE. There has been a jump in people viewing and participating in Live videos across TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Partnering with influencers and experts, through Live Q&As, FAQs, interviews, and more, brands can start a dialogue directly with their audience.
There are plenty of ways we can continue to engage our audience through videos. What’s important to ensure is that the message communicated through the video does not come across as insensitive and out-of-touch which will reverberate long after we cross this tunnel. It’s crucial to stay empathetic, true, and show solidarity in these unprecedented times.
I’ll leave you with this meme.
Interest and investment in augmented reality and immersive digital marketing is greater than it’s ever been before. Through the journey of evolving brands, we have witnessed the adoption of a mobile-first creative approach. Augmented Reality marketing provides brands with a highly desired tool in their belt when it comes to driving sales and enhancing brand value through mobile devices.
The explosive growth of immersive marketing saw big brand wins during the early days of the adoption of AR in marketing. Because of this, AR emerged as one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends, alongside voice commerce and the use of first-party data. Industries ranging from e-commerce to fintech and FMCGs raced to leverage AR marketing for their brands.
This growth has been witnessed with Augmented Reality marketing playing a key role in social media marketing as well. While Snapchat was one of the first social media giants to adopt AR, Instagram was quick to follow. Google, too, launched AR powered 3D images in searches for products on various e-commerce brands early this year. This proves that AR can be used in multiple ways for a number of different reasons, whether it’s increasing user engagement or offering interactive elements for consumers.
The first step to creating a space to build AR-powered apps, experiences and campaigns were taken by tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google. They created platforms like Spark AR, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore which made it simpler to leverage AR in marketing and products for any brand.
But the doors for AR marketing only really opened with the conception of Facebook’s augmented reality suite Spark AR Studio. This tool allowed anyone to create their own filters and campaigns which could be utilized for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Free for all to use, Spark AR by Facebook has provided a platform for many brands to create their own AR effects and filters. This quickly launched Augmented Reality marketing to new heights.
While e-commerce brands, specifically beauty and lifestyle, were quick to tap into the feature by allowing customers to try out products, brands also leveraged AR for high impact brand awareness. A prime example of this was Adidas Original’s decision to create a custom AR effect that was in line with the trend of vintage filters and retro photographs at the time. Their filter added a nostalgic look to your stories, including a ‘glitch’ effect. This custom AR effect was extremely share-worthy, very on-trend and was perfect for building brand awareness!
AR marketing witnessed a peak in the entertainment industry as well, with several well-known media giants tapping into Augmented Reality marketing for the launch of largescale projects. Known celebrities and producers used AR in marketing for movies, TV shows, and even new music. This was seen most prominently with Netflix. One of their largest campaigns tied up with the New York Times and Google Lens for readers to scan and discover images that led to a Stranger Things reveal.
The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is expected to steadily grow as more brands across sectors leverage it to engage their core audience. India is projected to increase both the creation and consumption of immersive media following the global trend. Brands in real estate, media and entertainment, automotive, and retail are expected to showcase the maximum adoption due to clear use cases, as per the Nasscom Graphic: Geetanjali.
By 2022, over $6.5 billion would be the estimated size of the Indian immersive media market, with a higher percentage of it pouring in from the Augment Reality market. Around $5.9 billion is expected, in comparison to the $0.5 billion estimated from the VR market, due to higher costs for creation and execution. The explosive growth of 172% from 2018 to 2022 can be attributed to the easily accessible tools and adoption of Immersive media by top Indian brands.
AR marketing has the capability to improve and create an immersive experience thereby leading to better brand perception if created well. As such, it is essential for brands not to use AR for novelty purposes, but to build a more seamless experience that would provide a positive AR experience while thinking about the long-term benefits of the experience.
Brands like Pepsi, with their #SwagStepChallenge and Lifebuoy, with #LifebuoyKarona, have used AR filters to create hashtag challenges on channels like TikTok to increase buzz around the brand. They roped in celebrities and influencer marketing campaigns to further amplify their AR filters. This helped create a massive awareness of their brand recording explosive cumulative reach of over 85 Billion views on both hashtags on TikTok, without the notion of driving sales or action.
Augmented Reality is often perceived with the restricted utility reserved for selfies or social media filters. However, the Augmented Reality market can stretch further this with the capacity for much larger impact. The ability to allow a customer to try out products without leaving their home or their screen is a level of immersion and interaction that even interactive ads cannot offer.
By creating AR versions of a product or set of products, brands can provide customers with a better idea on the actual look and feel, while simultaneously setting the right expectations for them in terms of the deliverables.
Brands that have most heavily used and relied on leveraging the tool are present in the retail, beauty and lifestyle segments. L’Oréal’s virtual makeup tool was a path-defining AR creation which helped customers across the globe test and try their makeup virtually anywhere. They added another step helping to enhance the marketability - the option to try the superimposed makeup in real-time with the filter, or take an existing picture to upload and have the filter tested on.
On the other hand, providing a vision to home and interiors, IKEA paved a way for real estate companies by allowing customers to view their products in real-time within their own homes. This increased the possibility of purchase with increased visualization, leaving very little to the imagination.
The real estate sector now faces the need to implement AR in product visualisation as well, especially to keep up with marketing during COVID-19. With fewer brokers and agents taking on home visits due to the restrictions imposed by authorities, it has become difficult to meet the existing demand for house hunters. While many have turned to virtual tours, AR can significantly drive sales, during and after this pandemic.
Your core audience is bombarded with a colossal amount of marketing messages every day, making it hard for marketers to ensure their message is heard. Providing your brand with the parachute of AR and adding a layer of immersive marketing can place it above other brands in a consumer's mind.
Making the brand more interactive, healthcare brand Medlife leveraged Facebook Augmented Reality marketing to educate viewers on the CPR procedure. This created deeper engagement for the audience by providing learning and greater rewards to their subconscious mind as well.
For brands who are dependent on the physical store experience to drive business, Augmented Reality provides the potential to amplify this by creating a digital experience simultaneously. A frequent example of this is seen with QR codes and bar codes that can be scanned. Doing so pulls up an AR manual or experience with detailed information on the product and brand.
Two popular examples of Hyundai and Mercedes have showcased how the auto industry has utilized AR to improve customer experiences. While Hyundai created AR-powered manuals for drivers, Mercedes created an app integrating AI to ‘Ask Mercedes’ any questions relating to the product and brand similar to a chatbot.
Augmented reality is a tool which can transform the B2B customer-vendor experience with the help of a single click. Limitations of what a vendor is able to provide, along with the misaligned customer experiences, is eliminated with the help of AR.
Creating dynamic sales presentation material to the customer with AR-powered content can provide a virtual 360-degree look at their product lines, and is one of the most used technologies in the B2B space.
Ever imagined that you could be in two places at once? With the help of a VR headset, this can be achieved. This novelty soon became a reality as the COVID-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift to a work-from-home model. Business continuity is a key focus for organizations while they are also looking to stay home to stay safe, but also want to provide real-time experiences. VR technology plays an important role to achieve this.
Companies like Quess, which is focused on sales-driven marketing and human interaction has their employees getting AI-powered training on their mobile devices. The face-reading AI also provides them with real-time feedback on their voice modulation, tone and facial expressions and key notes to focus on for improvement.
The biggest learning digital marketers can take from this is that it’s time to adapt. Investing in the available AI technologies to maximize your results has become the need of the hour. It is critical for your brand to reach the objective of managing more data effectively and improving your consumer experience.
The creative potential of using AR in marketing can provide your concepts and campaigns with an increased potential for brand awareness and recognition. 2020 is the year to explore immersive marketing to maximize your brand’s potential. At Social Beat, we implement a mixed marketing strategy which includes AR to enhance our efforts and deliver results.
With the Indian internet population at over 550 million users (as of Jun 2020), the digital marketing industry is growing. With the industry showing an enormous projected growth potential and an expected paucity of trained professionals, many students, graduates and young professionals are looking to get on the digital marketing bandwagon. Owing to Covid 19 there are even more Indians spending time online. This has led to choice in terms of digital marketing courses and training institutes in India.
To cater to the growing need for these courses, a number of training companies, institutes and universities have started various Digital marketing courses and social media marketing courses. There are tons of books written on Digital Marketing and YouTube Channels covering digital marketing. Based on our experience in digital over the last decade, here is a guide on some of the best institutes that you could choose from. Since this is an extensive article we've split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.
Short Video Guide on how to select the right digital marketing course in India:
Before opting for a digital marketing course online or offline, here are some pointers to evaluate the desired institute or course structure.
Here are some of the popular websites/companies/institutes offering Digital Marketing courses which will save you a considerable amount of time in research if you're looking for one for yourself. If you are looking for social media marketing courses in India, please visit this link.
DigiGrad is an initiative of Social Beat (a Google Premier Partner and a Recommended Facebook Agency) to impart quality digital training in an online and classroom setting. Priced at INR 30,000 DigiGrad offers the Certificate Program in Digital Marketing that is tailor-made for marketers, entrepreneurs and freshers alike. It is an IIM alumni initiative with Harvard-style Case Study based Learning Methodology and live classes with a small batch size of less than 50 students per batch. Their integrated 12 weeks rigorous learning program has 7 advanced training modules and includes practical application-oriented modules. It also offers specific programs relating to Digital Adverting, Social Media, SEO and other digital marketing streams. As its an initiative by a digital agency, they guarantee a live project and offer internships and projects at Social Beat and with India’s top brands.
Manipal Global Education Services is from the parent company of Manipal University, that offers online and classroom-based courses on digital marketing. Their online certification program spanning 100 hours of learning covers various aspects of digital marketing such as SEO, SEM, ORM and Analytics. Their PG Certificate in partnership with Manipal Academy starts at INR 95,000 - though its a long program (200 days) whereas the Certificate program starts at INR 55,000.
Digital Vidya is a leading Digital Marketing training company and one of the first to launch Social Media Marketing course series in India. Since 2009, they claim to have had participation from over 20,000 professionals and students, from over 10,000 organizations and institutions. Digital Vidya also offers Digital Marketing (CDMM), Mobile Marketing (CMMM) and Social Media Certification programs (CSMMP) in association with V-Skills, a Govt. of India initiative. Their programs are priced at INR 50,000.
Simplilearn is one of the leading platforms for online training and professional certification programs. They have around 30 courses in digital marketing that provide hands-on experience in various Digital marketing domains. Priced at INR 60,000 they are accredited by OMCP, these courses are aimed at helping working professionals & aspirants stay ahead of the digital curve with relevant skills.
NIIT offers a post graduate degree in digital marketing and branding, seems to be designed for freshers. It guarantees 3 interviews and is priced at INR 70,000. The duration of these courses is 6 months. They used to offer this program offline but now moved it to digital - possibly owing to Covid 19.
Internet & Mobile Research Institute, headquartered in Bangalore is a full-service international digital media training centre. IMRI conducts a one-month Executive Programme course in SEO, PPC advertising, SMM & Web Analytics, a six-month Professional Program In Digital Marketing (EPDM) and a one-year Graduate Program for aspirants to jumpstart their digital marketing career and it aims to be more experiential than classroom training.
The All India Management Association (AIMA) has an AICTE approved 1 year program. The pricing is INR 31,000 per semester and for the full program it is probably INR 93,000. The major digital marketing tools covered in this course are email marketing, SEO/SEM, pay per click, affiliate marketing, digital display, mobile marketing, online video and social media analytics. Spread over a period of three months, this online course is divided into 6 modules.
There are many free digital marketing courses and affordable recorded courses from platforms like Udemy, which covers the basics of digital marketing. Even Coursera has some excellent programs. If you are a student then MyCaptain has some useful programs starting at INR 2,800.
Online Courses are generally more convenient for most people, especially working professionals as they can be attended from the comfort of one's home/office Also, with technology having improved, online instructor-led virtual classrooms are as good as actual classrooms, with webinar software allowing for both peers to peer interaction as well as student-teacher interaction. Webinar recordings are also available for those who miss out on sessions. Classroom programs would only work best for you if you are the personality type that prefers learning in a classroom environment or if you're not too comfortable with learning in a live webinar format.
Here is a list of institutes which conduct classroom courses but owing to Covid 19, many of them may not be fully operational yet.
Digital Marketing Training Institute conducts a Post Graduate Program in Digital Media Marketing in Mumbai. The course is a one-year, full-time program that focuses on the strategic and practical aspects of Digital Marketing. They have an active placements cell as well which helps course participants get jobs in the digital marketing space.
EduPristine is one of India's leading training providers for international certifications in Finance, Accounting and Analytics. They also conduct digital marketing classroom courses in 11 Indian cities. The course covers 60 hours of digital marketing classroom training over 12 Sundays. They also have a 48-hour online course spread over 6 weekends. On completion of the course, the participants are awarded a Certificate of Excellence in collaboration with the "Microsoft IT Academy Program".
The Delhi School of Internet Marketing (now acquired by DigitalVidya) conducts an all in one advanced digital marketing live classroom course for working professionals, business owners and job-seekers, at their training centres in Delhi and Bangalore. They conduct an online instructor-led course as well on weekends. However, they do not seem to offer any digital marketing certification for participants who complete the course.
Digital Nest conducts an Advanced Digital Marketing Training Course in Hyderabad. The course includes 48 hours of classroom training with weekday/weekend classes. They also conduct workshops/seminars and webinars for corporate bodies and educational institutions.
Social Samosa, one of the most popular social media news and information portals in India, conducts workshops and seminars on the basics of Social Media, Facebook and Twitter marketing in Mumbai. These one-day sessions can serve as a primer for those who want to gain a basic knowledge of the space.
Located in Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Digital Education offers two courses on digital marketing and full stack programming. The digital marketing programme is designed to give freshers a robust introduction to the world of digital marketing and help professionals intensify their existing knowledge of all things digital. The programme is divided into a 6-month with classes conducted thrice a week, and independent certification courses conducted for three hours over one week.
The full stack programming course is an exhaustive 6-month program that gives students a profound understanding of the technical and practical aspects of web development and coding.
Most of the courses listed above are best suited for students and working professionals. If you are someone in a fairly senior role who has more than 5 to 10 years of work experience under his/her belt, then it might be worthwhile considering doing an executive digital marketing course.
It's surprising to see that not many business schools in India are offering executive or management development programs around digital marketing. The few that do exist have been showcased below and we have tried to find a mix of programs that focus on digital marketing, e-commerce and analytics. If you have attended any of these programs please do leave your feedback in the comments below.
Upgrad offers course across many streams. One of the streams is marketing where MICA has partnered with Upgrad for the PG certification in Digital Marketing and Communication and covers social media marketing, content marketing, branding and marketing analytics. Its a pretty long program at 6.5 months. Starting from INR 87,750 and going up to 1.25 lakhs it is one of the most expensive online course available. Some of the interesting aspects of this course are certifications from MICA case studies, projects and one on one mentoring with industry experts.
TalentEdge provides a Specialised Executive Programme in Digital Marketing from MICA, Ahmedabad, ideal for early beginners and working professionals. Priced at INR 70,000 for a 4.5 month program, they claim to have reached over 8,00,000 registered learners who have benefitted from the live lectures, case studies and content structure designed by MICA faculty & industry experts. Apart from this, TalentEdge also offers an Executive Development Program in digital marketing from XLRI at INR 80,000 for a 6 month program. The executive development program is a course for marketing managers who wish to understand the nuances of digital marketing techniques and tools to execute a campaign. Talentedge offers over 250 courses across different areas and while they dont specialize only in marketing programs, they do have good university tie ups.
Amity University started its online avatar called Amity Future Academy and launched the Post Graduate Diploma in Digital Marketing Strategies in collaboration with Wharton University. Priced at INR 1,55,000 it is a pretty steep price point, especially considering the faculty is not from Wharton. It is a 12 month program with 13 modules including brand strategy.
IIM Bangalore has a programme called "Digital Marketing for Business Growth" which they conduct mutiple times in their academic year. The programme aims to give an overview of digital marketing with a focus on the different social media marketing channels, search engine marketing (both search advertising & search engine optimization) and digital analytics. So it aims to give an overview of each of the key elements that can enable brands to get better engagement, leads and conversions. It also touches upon analytics and what metrics can be used to measure the performance of the digital campaigns.
IIM Lucknow does seem to have a programme on Digital Marketing by renowned Professor Moutusy Maity. She has done extensive research in e-commerce, m-commerce and CRM so the quality of the programme is likely to be very high. She has worked in the Industry (at Nielsen) and handled clients like PepsiCo and Eveready Batteries so she would definitely bring a practical experience to the table. We are yet to receive more details on the programme from them so we shall update it here shortly.
Great Learning, from the house of Great Lakes Institute of Management has a PG Program in Strategic Digital Marketing. It is a 6 month module with a 4 week capstone project, with mentoring from faculty of Great Lakes. The course is a blended model with recorded content as well as live mentoring. The pricing is only on request.
ISB Hyderabad has a 3-day executive program titled "Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategies" priced at Rs.1,50,000 + GST. It is specifically targeted for professionals and leaders in the marketing and strategy domain. The program aims to give an overview of digital and social media marketing and how to get ROI from the medium.
Jellyfish is a global leader in training around programmatic advertising platform - Google Marketing Platform (GMP) and its components, Campaign Manager, Display and Video 360 (DV360), Search Ads 360, Google Analytics 360 and Optimize 360. Its a pretty advanced program and the subscription is INR 42,000 per month and its meant for users who already have access to the GMP platform. Here is an article on the basics of programmatic advertising and DV360 case studies to help you get started.
Hootsuite, one of the most popular tools for social media scheduling and monitoring has Hootsuite Academy, which offers a social media program at USD 199, which is worth exploring.
Hubspot Academy offers a free Inbound Marketing Course & Certification marketers, entrepreneurs and students. They also conduct classroom training but only in the United States.
If you are a self-learner keen on understanding the digital marketing space, there are various youtube channels, digital marketing blogs, articles, books and real-time case studies available online. You can also join relevant LinkedIn groups to participate in discussions & connect with industry experts.
All said Digital marketing is a field where just taking courses or following the industry trends alone will not make one an expert. Maximum learning can only be gleaned from actual hands-on, on-the-job experience. Hence, the success of these courses will eventually depend on the quality of digital professionals they send into the industry and how well they execute the acquired knowledge & digital skill sets. If you are looking out for digital marketing careers in India, check Social Beat out.
Have you taken up any of these courses? Please share your experiences with us in the comments!
There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive.
So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind.
It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.
If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.
While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.
With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.
In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.
You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across.
Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this:
But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.
This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.
Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.
Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website.
While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:
This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.
In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.
The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!
Brands across sectors have seen a large scale shift with the decline in the economy, which has taken a hard hit during the ongoing pandemic. And in these last few weeks, as the world has grappled with the Coronavirus and its unprecedented impact, brands have quickly stepped up to roll out important changes and updates to make these times a little bit better. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Google is the number one search engine across the globe, and with people turning to them every day to look for answers on COVID-19, it’s important that their information is accurate and up to date.
Which is why now, when you look up anything related to the coronavirus on Google, every search will trigger and display a dedicated Knowledge Panel which provides users with accurate information.
Google has also announced that arrangements have been made for some teams to work closely with the World Health Organisation through the ongoing health crisis. The information gathered in this interface enables Google to provide and update information on the Knowledge Panel with real-time news and verified advice.
At the same time, so many of Google’s products are integrated into a person’s workday - with Gmail, Google Ads, Analytics, etc. With the Coronavirus, there have been certain products that have been seeing more engagement and traction, and to make working remotely easier, Google provided free access to all features of the advanced version of Hangouts. This is applicable around the world to G-Suite users, as well as customers in the field of education, and will run till July 1st, 2020.
Google has also included Coronavirus as a featured search on its trends page. The most commonly asked questions can help guide healthcare professionals and companies address these queries and provide useful information during a time of unfamiliarity and little knowledge of the disease.
Similar to Google, TikTok has provided users with an Information Center on COVID-19. This is visible on their app in the upper right-hand corner, as an icon shaped like a shield. When users click on this, they are directed to a live page, updated continuously with news-clippings and videos from official sources, updates from WHO, information on global and domestic numbers, myth busters, FAQs, and basic preventive measures, amongst other COVID-19 initiatives.
This is an insightful way of leveraging content during these times, especially since TikTok has really taken off during these last few months with the spread of the virus. New challenges have shown up as people attempt new things while locked indoors around the world, and this has led to a massive surge in the number of downloads. In the week of March 16, 2020, TikTok witnessed an 18% increase in the number of downloads, with 2 million that week alone.
With the prevailing rise of this social media platform, TikTok’s move to provide information on COVID-related updates allows the app to be a one-stop destination for both entertainment and news. Marketers and influencers may also move to leverage TikTok marketing during COVID-19 as the situation of lockdown and social distancing remains in place.
Google is not the only brand to have made remote connectivity easier. Facebook has finally launched the desktop version of its Messenger app. Facebook has been planning to release this update for a while now, but having witnessed the increase in use and number of downloads of video calling apps during these times, this update comes at the perfect time.
The app can be downloaded on any OS and can be launched separately. It enables users to log in and use Messenger just as they would on any browser - with features to chat with different contacts, share media, and of course, video call friends and family to stay connected.
Instagram rolled out a co-watch feature on its app to bring people closer together by providing access to share screens and scroll feeds with one another. This feature is a useful one as it provides a new way for users to connect and share with one another when everyone is under lockdown at home, unable to connect face-to-face.