Social media Marketing

5 steps to creating a successful Market Research survey

  • Mrinal Gaur
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  • 15 December , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Einstein once said ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning’ But does the count matter? Does every question lead us to the desired learning? The trick is not in asking questions but knowing how to ask the right questions. 

Holistic market research requires us to either own that skill or learn it. This is all the more pertinent now that businesses are becoming more and more consumer-centric. We can reach a consumer-oriented solution only by knowing what our consumers want, when they want, and how they want, and we need to ask them the right questions first.

 Let us first understand what market research is. A new opportunity in a business and its related domains should be analyzed first through market research as it gives us an idea of the viability and feasibility of the decisions to be taken. As precisely explained in one of our previous blogs, market research plays a vital role when we have to spot business opportunities, to understand our consumers in-depth, to understand our competitors and their approach, to grow in business, and to identify the right channels of marketing for our business.

A very powerful form of market research is primary research, which is best described as an entirely new form of data collected by asking questions to the existing and prospective consumers of our brand. There are multiple types of primary research implemented depending upon our objectives - Interviews, Focus groups, Surveys, and Observations. When it comes to collecting information from a large number of people systematically with a decision orientation, a survey is highly effective.

After a market research survey has been generated, rolled out and after our data points are in place, the next logical step is to analyze these points and derive actionable insights. This is a lengthy process through and through. In fact, the data collection process alone can take months, even years sometimes, hence, it is all the more important to start off on the right note. Mind it, Surveying could be cumbersome and non-conclusive if the number and type of questions are not appropriate.

Hence, we have put down steps involved in making a successful market research questionnaire to ask meaningful questions to our audience.

 

First and foremost, we define our Research Problem & Target Audience

A simple way to define our research problem and target audience is to answer the following questions first.

What is the goal of this research?

What problem are we trying to solve with this data? What sort of decision will this survey lead to? Where will it be implemented? 

How will it be useful to the consumers, brands and products? What information do I want from this market research questionnaire and why? 

What do I hope to understand about my target audience through this research? 

What market is this survey targeting? Which segment is the perfect fit and will help in the decision making process with reliable insights?

While answering these questions, we need to keep in mind the following - the size of our audience sample, the channel, and medium of our survey, and the detailed characteristics of our audience. Several data points with only a handful of them qualifying the characteristics is a waste of resources with no conclusive results.

We can use a few online tools to also build our consumers’ persona as explained in detail in one of our previous blogs.

 

Divide the information to be collected into Information Areas

After defining our research problem, we put down all the information that needs to be collected and group them in logical heads which are our key information areas. This list needs to be exhaustive, because a single missing piece can lead to an unsolved puzzle in the end and the process cannot be practically repeated. We also make sure that these key areas are not overlapping or contradicting each other.

Let us take an example to understand this better. 

For a market research survey conducted to design a marketing strategy for an existing FMCG product, the information areas could be Usage of product, Purchase behaviour , Profile, Perception, and Brand health.

 

Logically sequence your information areas

After the information areas are in place, we order them as per logic to ensure that the survey nurtures respondent friendliness. The flow of the market research questionnaire is kept such that the respondent does not get mentally fatigued in between, hence, it is also a good practice to keep the questions about the core purpose of the study right in the beginning. Some common criteria to decide this order are chronology, expected bias, and the level of critical thinking. 

 Some of the common structures that are followed include -

  1. Introduction of the respondent
  2. Screening questions
  3. Category behaviour
  4. Brand health and image
  5. Respondents’ Attitudes/beliefs
  6. Additional/ secondary data

 

Start asking questions now!  

Now, we can start forming questions within the Information areas. An effective way to create questions is to divide the information areas further into Variables and Indicators. 

For example, under ‘Category behaviour’ mentioned in the previous head, the variables are ‘Purchase behaviour’ and ‘Usage behaviour’. Furthermore, the indicators under ‘Usage behaviour’ are ‘frequency’, ‘purpose’, and ‘type’.

Within these heads and subheads, the questions belong to two categories - Open-ended and close-ended. When it is important to capture spontaneous answers or when we can’t put together an exhaustive list of responses as an aided list, we use open-ended questions such as ‘what do you particularly like about Product X?’ or ‘What are the reasons for not using Product X?’

On the other hand, Close-ended questions are easier and quicker to answer for a respondent as they have options to choose from. The respondents are given an aided list, which is an exhaustive list of all possible answers. Here, we make sure that the options are mutually exclusive and are not open to interpretation. 

We always go for short, simple, and clear questions. For example, rather than asking, 

‘Have you used the conditioner at least twice in the last two months?’, 

we should be asking ‘Have you used the conditioner two or more times in the last 1 month?’ 

Similarly, ambiguous questions are avoided because they don’t lead to a thoughtful answer.

 

Proofing, and Piloting

Now, when we have put down our questions in the market research questionnaire, it is imperative to check for errors and test it once. We examine questions against the initial information areas in terms of completeness and we run a need test (for knowing if there is any question that is not required). Finally, we run it informally to know if the flow works, to check if any contradictory answers are emerging, or if any questions are heavy on the respondents' memory, and to assure the length of the survey is correct. 

Before rolling out the market research survey online or online, it is crucial to examine the survey as a whole once. Hence, we ensure to provide context to the respondents in the form of reasons. Also, we set the expectations for the participants concerning length, time taken to complete it and a progress bar within the survey is always a great option. 

While these are the steps involved in creating a market research survey, one wise thing to do not just while making it but also executing it is to follow logic and common sense. Remember, a true researcher should always remove his cloak of views and biases before starting to work on a survey because it is more important to know what others think.

Voila, our survey is ready to go!

Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business! 

 

 


Is IPL advertising a hidden opportunity for Indian Marketers?

  • Arifa Rafeeq
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  • 18 August , 2020
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    • 4 min read

With the deadly virus and the national lockdown upon us, there has been very little to look forward to during this year. But thanks to OTT (Over the Top) platforms and the nation’s undying love for cricket, we are now anticipating the return of the fun-filled Indian Premier League (IPL) in the second half of this year. The 2020 IPL, like so many other events this year, will be held like never before. For one, the stadiums won't be packed with tens of thousands of passionate fans, as the tournament will be conducted in UAE with limited spectators. More importantly, the advertising engine that drives revenue for the IPL will be largely limited to digital platforms. OTT platforms like Hotstar are in prime position to capture even greater audiences and thus, have become the sole focus for brands. If you want to grab eyeballs during the 2020 IPL, a keen understanding of advertising on OTT platforms is crucial. 

What are OTT platforms?

OTT platforms are one of the fastest-growing networks of today’s Indian online marketing world. With more people turning to digital platforms for all their needs due to the lockdown, these platforms have witnessed a tremendous spike in the last couple of months. With the current speed of growth, it is now roughly estimated that by the end of 2023, the Indian OTT marketing world would have a whopping 500 million viewers online. 

One of the nation’s very own OTT platforms that is also the most-subscribed app in India, is Hotstar. Hotstar is owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of Star India. As of May 2020, there are 8 million paid subscribers and 300 million active subscribers on Hotstar alone. Since IPL streaming is a service provided to paid subscribers, we think it is safe to say that we can expect another spike in the number of subscribers for the sake of the Indian Premier League.

 

But as marketers and advertisers, is Hotstar just a mere OTT platform and the IPL, just a game? Or a spectacular opportunity for advertisers to create brand awareness?

 

Ultimately, video advertising is one of the most effective forms of advertising. An average person in India spends approximately 3.5 hours on video streaming on smartphones. In addition to that, 69% of internet users have one or more entertainment or video applications downloaded on their phones. With more than 95% of Indian households being single television households, the video-in-hand demand has made a huge difference to video advertising. This is probably why the 2019 IPL broke viewership records with up to 462 million viewers watching the game online and upto 300 million viewers watching it on Hotstar. 

 

Why should brands advertise on Hotstar in the 2020 IPL?

The following are some of the reasons why brands should advertise in this nation’s most awaited game on Hotstar:

  1. Higher viewership:

    After last year’s record-breaking viewership of 462 million viewers (300 million from Hotstar alone), this year we expect an outstanding increase in the viewership rate owing to the lockdown as well as the Disney+Hotstar audience pool of 250 million viewers.

  2. Lower IPL advertising rates:

    With the previous IPL advertising rates being expensive and affordable only to the biggies of advertising, many small scale businesses could not advertise in the IPL. This year, however, the IPL offers a starting package of 1 lakh INR only - which means more brands will be advertising on this medium.

  3. Hotstar audience interest:

    As per the audience interest, 66% are annual travelers, 60% are monthly online shoppers, 40% are degree/diploma holders, 70% are investors of stocks and MFs, and 90% have paid subscriptions. This opens up a vast variety of opportunities for brands to reach their audiences. 

  4. High Ad inventory:

    With around 56 matches, each match has around 2,300 seconds of ad inventory. 

  5. High Engagement:

    Hotstar advertisement in  IPL 2020 offers remarkable engagement from viewers right through Pre, as well as Post live show updates and Highlights. 

  6. Option to choose from different ad formats as per your marketing goal.
  7. Option to filter your potential brand audience through location, gender, interests, etc.
  8. An increasing number of viewers on Disney+Hotstar applications each day.

 

Who must absolutely advertise on Hotstar IPL 2020?

  • Brands that want to boost their sales after being sidelined by the lockdown.
  • Brands that want to introduce new products/services to a larger audience
  • Brands whose target audiences are young, digital-first, and/or urban.

 

Best Advertising Options for Hotstar IPL 2020:

Since the public will not be able to physically attend the matches this year,  the IPL experience is going to be different from the previous years. The same goes for advertising in IPL. Some of the most popular Hotstar advertisement practices in IPL are as follows:

  • Billboards:

    Similar to an outdoor advertising billboard, a billboard is a big banner of your brand that can be in the form of an image, video, or a series of images as a photo carousel. A billboard may be placed on any content page such as the home page, news, sports, movies, etc.

  • Midrolls:

    10-30 seconds of unskippable ads that play during live match breaks/between programs. This is the most popular form of advertising used by a larger number of brands.

  • Features:

    These ads are non-clickable ads that pop up during the crucial moments of the game. This ensures high engagement and visibility that offers a remarkable boost to your brand.

  • Branded Cards:

    These are banners that carry the brand logo and their message and are placed right below the live streaming of the match in the social live feed.

 

IPL Advertising is a great opportunity for both moderate as well as high budget advertisers. It is used by a variety and a large number of brands in order to reach their target audience. Since Hotstar is the most subscribed application and IPL is the most-watched game, the two put together a remarkable number of viewers and a large audience of different likes and dislikes. With reduced rates and higher user engagement after the Disney tie-up with Hotstar, now is the best time to invest in advertising on Hotstar!


Building a brand for GenZ in India – In conversation with Simeran Bhasin, Founder, BRAG

  • Somya Aggarwal
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  • 17 August , 2020
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    • 5 min read

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.


Facebook launches Instagram Reels as TikTok alternative

  • Team Social Beat
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  • 27 July , 2020
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    • 2 min read

Recently India banned 59 Chinese apps such as TikTok, UC Browser and CamScanner, due to compliance issues and concerns over data privacy. TikTok influencers had built a massive follower base and had many brand deals that added to their source of income. But the ban had left these social media influencers without a medium to reach their audiences. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the number of active users on social media platforms has also significantly increased. This has led to the rise of many alternate apps such as Mitron, Roposo, Chingari, Bolo Indiya and now Instagram Reels.

In a move to capture the market share and move deeper into the short-form content space, Instagram has now introduced a new feature called Instagram Reels. Now you can create 15-second videos on Reels and edit using options like speed, timer, effects and audio. You can also choose the apply AR effects in your video. The audio option allows you to play music from the Instagram Music library or use your original audio. You can create multiple 15-second videos at a time and edit them separately using different options.

Instagram Reels allows the user to select the audience they wish to share their videos with. The videos created using Reels will be displayed in the Explore section and the Reels tab of Instagram. You also have the option to share the video in your feed and in your story.

Open the Instagram Camera and select Reels.

In the audio option, you can select audio from the Instagram music library or choose to use your original audio.

Edit your Reel using the available options such as speed, timer and effects like AR effects.

Share the video in your Reels, Feed or Story.

Give Instagram Reels a try and create impressive thumbstopper videos.


Latest Facebook & LinkedIn updates for user engagement

  • Team Social Beat
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  • 1 June , 2020
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    • 3 min read

During these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, more brands are trying to reach out to their customers digitally. With so much content floating out there, like thumbstopper videos and engaging vox-pop campaigns, it becomes difficult for a brand to capture the attention of a user online towards their offering. Facebook and LinkedIn, well-known platforms in the social media and networking space, have launched new features on their platforms to get more engagement from users online.

LinkedIn Launches “Poll” Feature

For all those bogged down with content in their feed, interactive content in the form of polls are an excellent way to engage your visitors and make them feel heard. You could ask them to share their opinions or perspectives on various conversations and trending topics. Polls can also help companies in their research to evaluate new introductions to their product line. Polls give an insight into the minds of consumers and what they expect from a brand. 

LinkedIn has joined Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with the launch of their new Poll feature. Just follow the steps below to create a LinkedIn Poll:

  1. Create a new post and select the “Create a Poll” option.
  2. Enter the question you wish to ask, along with four answer options and set the duration of the poll which can be up to two weeks.
  3. Write a post to accompany the poll and don’t forget to add hashtags for better visibility.
  4. Set the privacy setting of the poll to either your connections, specific groups or anyone on LinkedIn and then take your poll live.

Once the poll ends, you can get an analysis of the poll with information such as the total number of voters, most preferred option and the selection percentages of all the options. This can help you gain insights on the respondents.

Send Marketing Emails via Facebook Pages App (PMA)

Gone are the days when you had to use a CRM tool to send out emails and another to manage your online advertisements. Facebook has now introduced an option to send Marketing Emails right from the Pages Manager App (PMA). Just follow these three simple steps to start sending emails right from your Facebook Pages App:

  1. Confirm the Email Address associated with your page.
  2. Manually upload the email addresses to your database. Facebook asks you to confirm whether you have received permission from the recipients to send email updates.
  3. Fill in all the required fields just like a regular email and send your email.

The additional benefit of using the Marketing Emails feature on Facebook is that once you have created your database of email addresses, you can create custom audiences to target those users on the Facebook Ads platform. If you wish to grow your target audience, you can also create a lookalike audience to the users matched through this database, based on their interests, preferences and behaviour on Facebook. These audiences help your advertising campaigns get better results, by increasing the relevance of the ads.


3 evergreen marketing trends of the last decade

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 24 February , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Marketing is all around us. It is more than the ads we see plastered across billboards, the jingles on our radios, and the ads on our TVs. With new digital platforms mushrooming, marketing has definitely evolved over the first decade of the 21st century. Having said that, there are certain aspects of marketing that form the crux of it and have remained timeless essentials that work to build a brand. Here are three such trends:

1. Storytelling

The art of storytelling remains powerful and paramount in the world of marketing. Simply because stories serve as effective communication that consumers connect with. Things that move us, be it with humour, emotion, or anything else, leave an impact, and brands have been quick to grasp the many benefits of utilizing this. Using storytelling captures attention and reels people in to see the story through to the end. This increases brand recall, awareness, and more importantly a connection with a brand that consumers can identify with. 

This is best understood through stories of how some brands used engaging narratives to set the stage to pack an emotional or meaningful punch, or vox-pop videos to increase engagement. Be it the films that BMW launched in the early 2000s to showcase their cars or the recent Puma campaign on what it is to be a “proper” woman that used the stories of successful women like Mary Kom, Dutee Chand, Anjali Lama, and others, to celebrate and give expression to individuality and women empowerment. The common aspect of both these campaigns is effective storytelling that got the audience’s attention. This is an evergreen trend that will continue to be the most important aspect of marketing. 

Using storytelling to spread awareness on gender disparity - Wonderchef

Our #DearManHoldThePan social experiment campaign with WonderChef used impactful storytelling to address gender disparity, starting in the kitchen, between a woman’s role in the kitchen in comparison to that of a man. Cooking is an essential life skill that shouldn’t be gendered as a role, and this is the story we wanted to bring out. The video sees conversations with different men and women based on their real-life experiences, notably proving that women still bear the brunt of kitchen responsibilities. Garnering over 2 million combined views on Facebook and Instagram, the video went viral upon its launch, with scores of people coming forward in agreement. Our influencer campaign #IHeldThePan had the likes of Jay Bhanushali, Swapnil Joshi and 73 other such famous personalities speak up for the cause, proving that storytelling is not only a great way to showcase your creativity, but also guarantees results.

2. Influencer/word-of-mouth marketing

How many times have we tried a product just because a friend said it worked well for them? We all do this. Hearing from someone else that a certain product worked for them, or about an interesting ad that piqued their interest can do wonders for a brand. This is where influencer marketing comes into play and this type of word-of-mouth advertising has remained a strong driver for customer engagement. Brands have employed influencers and celebrities alike to promote their products for them. 

People follow these personalities as they can identify closely with them and want to be like them. Word of mouth creates an image of trust and reliability around the product and serves as first-hand product testimonies. 

Case in point, Himalaya facial wipes, which focused solely on marketing through word of mouth, employed influencers from a range of different niches - from lifestyle and fashion. These influencers used facial wipes and created engaging content on both their blogs and social media handles.  The content was eye-catching, tailored to the kind of followers each influencer had garnered. By exuding class through the product itself, and reliability through the firsthand nature of its marketing, their facial wipes were featured in images across the globe, helping them to amass a total impression of 10 lakh and a total engagement and clicks of 1.7 lakhs. 

Driving app installs and purchases through influencer marketing - Bewakoof

With the objective of connecting Bewakoof with the relevant audience, we partnered with 9 millennial influencers from across India on TikTok. We asked them to create content to promote Bewakoof’s merchandise, with a call-to-action encouraging viewers and followers to download the app. The videos used the popular method of displaying before and after transformations, showing them as their most stylish selves once they wore Bewakoof’s line of apparel. This word-of-mouth marketing drove engagement and helped Bewakoof achieve over 25,000 app installs and more than 750 conversions, with a great return on ad spends. These results drive home the fact that consumers are more likely to listen to people they look up to, who vouch for the reliability of a product.

3. Personalisation

As we mentioned before, people connect with brands more when they identify with them. One of the key ways to make that happen is by creating personalised content for audiences. It is a crucial part of the customer journey and the experience itself. This is why brands incorporate personalisation with three relevant and significant elements in their marketing strategies - geographic, demographic and language. Personalisation, as a trend has remained unchanging because of how fundamental it is in any campaign. Segmenting your audiences and showing them customised messaging based on their likes and interests can positively influence any campaign and the brand connect. Personalised design and content, too, play an integral role in delivering results.

With marketers having access to real-time data and AI coming into play, personalisation is going to become a lot more accurate, making the customer journey much more enjoyable if used the right way. 

Driving higher impact at a lower cost with testimonial ads - Sundaram 

In order to bring out the long-term rewards of investing in mutual funds, we helped Sundaram run ads that showcased the end results of doing so. We created ads with customized investment journeys for different audience segments. These ads displayed different visuals which implied that by investing in mutual funds, people could reach their financial goals to achieve their dreams. For example, we targeted travel enthusiasts who searched for travel and investment-related brands and competitor keywords by placing ads on travel sites. Similarly, we ran personalized ads for car enthusiasts who had also searched for investment-related keywords. In our targeting segments, we excluded audiences who searched for car parts, servicing or accessories to ensure relevant audiences saw the ads. To add to that, the ads used images customized for a better fit instead of generic stock images. This resulted in a staggering 91% increase in conversion rates, a 32% decrease in cost per lead, and a 39% increase in click-through rates. This goes to show that personalisation gets messages across better, with higher impact. 

So while this decade saw some great new marketing trends come up, only the methods that get to the heart of the matter and look at long-term gains really stick their landing. As the world around us changes, these techniques also evolve and grow to accommodate newer inputs. With a whole new decade upon us, marketing in 2020 will see new technologies unfurl and change the playing field, pulling brands to think out of the box. 

This article was originally published in Business Standard.


LinkedIn Now allows Marketers to Target Ads to ‘Lookalike Audiences’

  • Mrinali Fernandez
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  • 27 April , 2019
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    • 2 min read

Over the last two years, LinkedIn has become a go-to advertising platform, especially for the B2B segments. With new features such as lead ads and matched audience, advertisers have been able to reach a qualified target audience at a competitive cost per leads.  In an effort to constantly improve the ad platform, LinkedIn has recently updated its ad targeting options, providing three new features – Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting and Audience Templates. These new options afford marketers the chance to scale their marketing efforts and improve ROI. Let’s take a closer look at these features.

What are Lookalike Audiences?

Lookalike Audiences is a feature already used by Facebook. This powerful tool helps you target and reach audiences who are similar to your ideal consumer. LinkedIn’s new tool combines traits of your ideal consumer with their company and member data to help you reach newer audiences that are similar to your existing customers, website visitors and target accounts.

Here are the benefits of Lookalike Audiences:

Scale your campaign quicker

Extend the reach of your ad campaigns to many more qualified prospective leads. Lookalike Audiences can help improve your campaign reach by 5-10x, while still reaching only high-quality audiences that matter to your brand.

Engage new target accounts

B2B marketers can use this tool to target their ads to companies they may not have considered before. These new companies will match a similar company profile to their ideal customer. Here’s more on how small businesses can leverage LinkedIn to generate leads.

What is Interest Targeting?

LinkedIn introduced its Interest Targeting feature in January of this year. This tool gives marketers the advantage of reaching LinkedIn users with relevant ads that match their professional interests. LinkedIn has further expanded its marketing capabilities by partnering with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This adds an additional level of interest targeting whereby you can now reach users via the topics or content they search for and consume. All this is done in a way that completely respects members’ privacy.

What are Audience Templates?

Audience Templates are a boon for marketers who are new to advertising on LinkedIn or for existing marketers looking to reach newer audiences. With this new feature, you can choose from 20 predefined B2B audience templates that include characteristics like job titles, skills, groups and so on. With just a single click, you can create a set model to target specific audiences, without wasting too much time at set up.

Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting with Bing and Audience Templates are now available to all LinkedIn advertisers. Leveraging these three new features will help B2B brands bolster and scale their ad campaigns to reach a more extensive number of highly-qualified leads via digital. You can also read our blog on LinkedIn Showcase Pages and why you must use them for more information on LinkedIn’s marketing tools.


9 trends for FMCG brands to level up their social media marketing game

  • Rhea
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  • 8 August , 2018
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    • 7 min read

The most important factor that will compel consumers to choose one brand over the other is not the actual benefits of one, but the existing relationship they have with the brand and their perception of it. The most effective digital marketing strategy for FMCG brands is to consistently engage with their customers by reaching out to them through social media platforms. With consumers spending more time on social media than ever before, digital has been driving FMCG sales in India. The Google India Search Insights 2018 revealed that by 2020, $45 billion of FMCG sales in India will be influenced by the internet. Households who have internet access spend 2x more on FMCG products, making them very important for brands. But effective social media marketing goes deeper than merely posting a few updates. Here are the top social media trends that are taking the FMCG sector by storm.

1. Personalise every aspect of your messaging strategy

 Customers don’t respond well to generalised messages. They want to feel like a brand truly understands their needs and is personally speaking to them. This is why brands need to communicate to their consumers as individuals and not as a homogenous group. Social media offers brands a number of ways to create personalised messaging strategies. Brands can target specific psychographic segments and developed specialised content for them. Retargeting allows brands to showcase products that consumers have already expressed interest in along with similar products. This offers customers a curated selection of products which can improve the quality of leads generated and increase conversion rates.

2. Respond to and encourage brand mentions

 The biggest advantage digital marketing has over traditional marketing is that it allows brands to have a two-way conversation with their customers. Doing this humanises a brand for consumers, which helps them develop a more meaningful relationship with it. For brands to encourage a conversation with their customers, they need to be active on relevant social media platforms and keep a close track of all brand mentions. Many times, consumers will specifically mention brands they are currently using or ones that they love. Responding to these consumers will help them feel closer to your brand and will encourage brand loyalty, which is crucial for the FMCG sector.

 

 

However, not all mentions are positive. When your consumers have a negative experience with your brand, they are very likely to speak about it on social media. Ignoring these instances can do even greater harm for brands. Instead, brands can turn this into an opportunity to improve their brand image and retain customers. By responding to negative brand mentions, offering compensations or special goodies, FMCG brands can change perceptions and turn negative comments into an opportunity for relationship building.

3. Get in touch with your customers through chatbots

 

 

While personalising your marketing strategy is undoubtedly important, the challenge for brands is to do this while talking to thousands of customers. With rapid improvements in AI technology, chatbots have become one of the most popular tools for brands to interact with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to customer queries, gain information about them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In the realm of online shopping, chatbots can act as personal shoppers, helping customers finding products related to what they’re looking for and suggesting others that they might be interested in. With chatbots now available on Facebook Messenger, it has become easier than ever for brands to implement them on their pages.

4. Keep consumers engaged through Instagram Stories

 

Instagram Stories are one of the most useful features brands need to take advantage of. While the concept of ‘ephemeral content’ first originated on Snapchat, Instagram Stories has quickly overtaken it to become the more popular medium for it. Staying active on Instagram Stories helps you engage more with your customers, tell your brand story in a creative way and promote your products. A key feature which makes Stories more valuable for brands than Snapchat is that it allows you to tag and link to pages. This can help FMCG brands drive traffic to their website or shop for products. Stories can also increase user engagement through polls, contests and user-generated content.

5. Collaborate with powerful influencers

 Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful avenues for FMCG brands to explore in 2018 and beyond. It helps brands build credibility, widen their consumer base and even drive sales. A study by Nielsen found that 92% of consumers trust earned media (such as recommendations from influencers) over brand communications. By promoting your product through a network of relevant influencers, you can build awareness in a more organic way.

When Himalaya launched their new facial wipes, they activated a large pool of influencers for their campaign #WipesOnTheGo. These fashion and lifestyle influencers posted extensively about the facial wipes on their social media channels. Bloggers also wrote reviews of the product so their followers could learn more about it. By using influencer marketing, Himalaya was able to build awareness of the product among their target audience in a very short period of time.

6. Tap into the potential of regional content

 A rise in disposable income along with the widespread penetration of affordable smartphones and mobile data have made consumers in tier 2 and 3 cities increasingly important for brands. While these cities have always been major markets for FMCG brands, especially those in the lower and middle segments, traditional marketing for these brands have always focused on traditional mediums like television and print. But as more of these audiences come online, brands will need to reach them through digital platforms as well. A Google and KPMG report found that almost 90% of rural users are more likely to respond to digital ads that are in their local language. Communicating with these users in the language they understand best also helps brands build trust.

 

One of the best examples to illustrate how powerful bi-lingual content can be for FMCG brands is Kovai pazhamudir Nilayam. With almost all their marketing efforts targeted towards audiences in tier 2 and 2 cities and towns in India, Patanjali has made extensive use of regional content. This could be an important factor in their dominance of the Indian FMCG market.

7. Make products easily available through social platforms

While brands have primarily used social media for brand building and awareness, the role of social media today extends far beyond that. FMCG brands can now use social media to directly drive sales. Reducing the amount of time and steps required for a consumer to purchase a product can motivate them to complete a purchase. In the traditional marketing process, consumers would gain brand awareness and recall through social media and then decide on whether to purchase the product at a later stage in an offline store. By making products easily available when promoting a product, brands can speed up a consumer’s decision-making process and compel them to actually make the purchase.

Facebook has enabled brands to showcase products used in a video or post along with a link to where users can purchase it. When users click on the link, they are shown a description of the product along with an option to purchase it on the website. Instagram is also rolling out a new ‘Shop’ feature that can help users purchase products that are tagged just by clicking on them. Making your products easily available on digital platforms is crucial for a complete social media strategy.

8. Use videos to communicate your message more effectively

 Videos aren’t just the future of marketing, they’re an important tool brands should start using immediately. For FMCG brands, in particular, video content could directly translate into sales. Surveys have shown that around 74% of users who had watched an explainer video about a certain product, eventually purchased it. Videos can be one of the best ways to help your audience understand your product better in a very short period of time. If you are selling your products online, creating videos is even more important. 57% of consumers have responded that they were more confident about purchasing a product online after watching a video about it.

 

But it isn’t just explainer videos that convert. Videos with humour content perform extremely well on social media as they connect with consumers on a personal level. They also help you build a relationship with your audience that goes beyond just your product offerings. One of the best examples is On1y, a premium spice brand with a signature grinder to ensure you get maximum flavour. They chose to speak about their product USP in an unusual way and effectively use humour to capture the attention of their audience.

9. Take a stand on current issues

 Brands have for a long time kept a safe distance from social issues, for fear of alienating a large section of their consumer base. Doing so today, however, might not earn brands any benefits. Millennial consumers, in particular, are more likely to have a positive perception of a brand if it takes a stand on pressing social issues. According to a study by Sprout Social, around two-thirds of consumers want brands to voice out their opinions on social issues. Showing support for a social movement can help build a brand’s personality and help them form an emotional bond with their customers.

 

 

While getting involved in political issues can still be tricky, there are many social and environmental issues that brand can and should take a stand on. But this doesn’t mean that brands should voice their opinion on every social issue that crops up. The key here is to ensure that your message is in line with your brand offerings and that it doesn’t seem opportunistic. Nothing can alienate consumers faster than a brand that appears to be using a social movement for profit. You don’t have to look further than Pepsi’s controversial video that trivialised social protests to understand how insensitive communication can backfire on a brand.

If a customer’s relationship with your brand is on a purely transactional basis, then they are unlikely to develop any loyalty or emotional connection to your brand. These social media trends can help brands create a personalised, user-centric marketing strategy which will help create a lasting connection with consumers.

 


Latest Facebook updates for Business Pages shift the focus to utility

  • Rhea
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  • 6 August , 2018
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    • 2 min read

In the last two years, Facebook has become immensely crucial for business owners. Small businesses, in particular, largely depend on Facebook for promotions and customer acquisition. However, as the number of businesses on Facebook increase, the total space available on the platform is diminishing. Organic reach on Facebook is at an all-time low, virtually eliminating the possibility of a customer becoming aware of your brand on Facebook without promotions. To compensate for the falling reach, Facebook has now redesigned their Business Pages. These pages will no longer be just a marketing tool, but a place for customers to gain actual utility from.

Here are the top changes you can expect to see in your Business Page.

1. User-oriented Business Pages

 Stressing on its commitment to providing audiences with greater utility, Facebook will now include use-specific options on a Business Page. A restaurant page, for example, will have an option for users to see the menu or make a reservation. A beauty salon could have a CTA to make an appointment on their page. To give audiences a more reliable idea of a business, Facebook is also going to showcase recommendations made by users on the Business Page. When users write reviews on the page, it will now be limited to 25 characters to improve clarity.

2. Stories enabled for Business Pages

Ephemeral content that contributed to Snapchat’s success has become immensely popular and a social media commandment brands swear by. Facebook has utilised this previously through Instagram and Facebook Stories. Now, Business Pages will also be able to use Facebook Stories to engage with their audience. This can be very useful for small businesses because it gives them an opportunity to promote their brand beyond just the NewsFeed.

 3. Local bookmark added on desktop

Facebook has already launched a Facebook Local app, but now, it also has plans to roll out a Local tab on the desktop version. This tab can be very useful for small businesses as it will help relevant audiences discover them. It can even help circumvent the issue of declining reach as it offers businesses a new way to connect with their audience. With Facebook updating its privacy policy to block third-party data providers, the local bookmark can also let a business find new customers and widen its base.

 4. Related business to appear on Business Page

 In what might be seen as a double-edged sword, Facebook will now also showcase related pages on a Business Page. For example, when users visit the Business Page of their local bakery, they will also be able to see pages of other bakeries nearby. On one hand, this feature can help small businesses become more discoverable. At the same time, however, it might also distract audiences and lead them to a competitor’s page. The exact implications of this update are yet to be seen.

 5. Job applications tab will be introduced

 Facebook hasn’t traditionally been used as a job search platform in the way LinkedIn is, but that might soon change. A new job applications section will be introduced to help businesses with staffing. It can also be a new way to become more visible on Facebook.

These updates will be very valuable for businesses competing for presence on a crowded News Feed. Apart from increasing reach, the updates will also help them have more meaningful interactions with their customers.

To learn more about how Facebook can help your business, read about how we achieved 4x higher return via Facebook for Mahindra Lifespaces and how Casagrand generated a record 190 crores in revenue via Facebook.

 


Design tips to create great visual posts on social media

  • Achala
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  • 24 July , 2018
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    • 10 min read

With thousands of brands vying for attention online, it is essential for companies to have a personality that cuts through the crowd and capture their target audience. A brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to brands in a way that they look, feel and interact with their audience. It is important to note that the personality should be an extension of the core values of the brand - and not conflict with it. For example, a luxury company may not find the greatest success littering their social feeds with memes, and a more fun brand may not be able to connect with its audience through stark and minimalist ads.

With more and more businesses going digital, and having a diverse social media offering, there is a strong correlation between a well thought-out brand personality and success. From designing online ads to creating a mobile responsive web design, having a compelling digital personality has many benefits, pushing brands to shift from print to digital media. A few of the benefits are discussed below:

  • Digital touchpoints amplify the ability of a brand to communicate with its customers in comparison to Brick and Mortar and offline activations. There are a multitude of opportunities for a brand to be able to extend its personality across these touchpoints in increasingly unique ways, providing a seamless visual experience.
  • It defines the brand in a way that purely offline activations cannot. Websites are no longer just a place to find your nearest store location (in the case of a product company) and have evolved to telling company stories, supported with rich media and some truly great user experience.
  • It creates a cohesion for online/offline communications
  • It forms an emotional connection with the users through exhibiting personality traits that they themselves would want to imbibe. Thus, it forms a bond of trust and authenticity.

In all this, the heart and soul of a digital personality comes down to one thing - design. The bare minimum of any successful communication that a brand puts out is good graphics, proving that design helps tell a brand story. Here are 10 tips to ensure that your brand voice is distinctive and visually arresting:

Establish your identity through visuals

Creating a design system or a brand book is the first and most important step to ensure that you have a holistic vision for your personality. Your brand is a living, breathing organism and should be treated as such!

Many companies prefer for their image-based communications to have subtle (or heavy!) branding on them, to ensure that it is associated back to their brand. It could be adding a simple frame, an adapted logo or even a specific filter to the image that is used throughout a campaign. It gives a lift to an otherwise simple image.

Featured above are the social media posts by House of Hiranandani. Since the brand specializes in premium and stylish living, their use of visual marketing ideas bursts with personality and originality, done in a creative and subtle way.

Think about Typography

Typography, or the art of arranging type, is a powerful element of visual communication. Gone are the days where we relied on Comic Sans or Papyrus to get our points across. Brands are now restricting themselves to using a few signature fonts in their style sheets - either using previously existing ones, or creating new ones, especially for their communications. Fonts communicate a variety of emotions and each type group is often associated with a certain kind of brand or industry. Brands that show restraint in font usage in their communication have much more focused messaging than those who get a bit too experimental with mixing type.

 

In the above examples, the serif fonts have been used to communicate a classic, timeless style that is usually associated with fashion. The brands featured here, Tifara and Zaamor, tend to favor these styles in their imagery as it best aligns with their tone and personality.

 

 

Before - These TVS creatives do not show strong brand characteristics. As an energetic automobile brand, the fonts used to not communicate this through their imagery.

After - After establishing a font palette with visual hierarchy of text, the creatives look as though they are part of the brand. The font choice (Euromode) pleases the eye and suggests movement, speed and progress.

Choose the right palette

The term ‘Colour Psychology’ has been around the marketing space for a while, as studies show that certain colours affect online consumer behaviour. Along the same lines, businesses are realising that using a specific set of colours in their digital communications (be it their website, Google ads, infographics or social media posts) creates retention in the customer’s mind and links the graphic back to their brand. These could even be colours that are used in a product’s packaging. We’ve seen this many times with the classic Cadbury purple, the Tiffany Blue or the McDonald’s red and yellow. There is a strong association with these colours to their corresponding businesses and products, which let the RGB and CMYK take on a whole new meaning!

Sundaram Mutual, one of our clients in the financial sector, uses tones of blue and white in their social media creatives to bring about brand recall.

The above examples illustrate perfectly how a recognizable color palette can make a graphic distinctive without the need of a logo. It goes without saying that these are made for Google.

Motion graphics and cinemagraphs

Motion graphics are proving to be more and more popular when pitted against their static counterparts. They stand out from our newsfeeds and demand a second look.  Brands are getting increasingly creative when it comes to using subtle motion in design. Cinemagraphs are the latest trend in this area - a post where only one aspect of an image is in motion in contrast to a static background.

GIFs are being redefined as more than just a grainy set of images on loop, found on 9Gag. They are quirky, clever representations of concepts that could otherwise not be depicted by a single image post. They are also easily shareable across multiple social media platforms. Companies are able to create a personality through these small clips. Brands are no longer thinking in terms of just static images, they are thinking and communicating in terms of stories.

Storytelling through video content

Videos are the most heavily consumed form of content in the online space. Over half a billion people are watching video content on Facebook on a day-to-day basis. Weekly share of time spent watching TV and video on mobile devices has grown by 85% from 2010 to 2016, according to a report by Edelman. Because of this, brands have intuitively funneled a lot of their budgeting into video content for brand storytelling, promotions and ultimately, conversions (95% of a message is retained when it is portrayed through video versus text).

However, not all videos are created equal, and brands are becoming increasingly intuitive of this point. As the newsfeed develops more and more into an online billboard, it is essential to craft content to best suit the platforms. Square videos are consumed the most, as they take up 78% more space on Facebook’s newsfeed and get more engagement than horizontal ones.

The kinds of content routes that companies take are also varied - but they all stay true to the brand message. This just goes to show that one brand can have many facets to its personality - ranging from a lively, engaging side shown through Vox pop to a ‘strictly business’ side though branded videos. Whatever said and done, video content is here to stay – whether it is low-cost videos to tell a brand story or optimized YouTube videos for customer engagement.

Be mindful of what shapes communicate

Shape, or form, is another visual element that holds a lot of importance. Social media marketing has allowed brands to communicate with their customers like never before - and in extremely creative ways. Some even have a specific style of graphic art that is so distinctive, that the viewer immediately knows which brand it came from. Different shapes, willingly or unwillingly, mean different things. Organic, soft and rounded shapes give a friendly, relatable and pleasing feel.

For example, in the Dr. Mohan’s graphics above - the emotion of stress has been personified into a fun character to communicate to people how to be more aware of letting stress take over your life. The tone is light, to get across a more serious point - thus trying to get into the mind of the customer and make them relate to the creatives on a personal level rather than giving them complex medical advice.

Sharper, geometric shapes communicate a bold, clean and prestigious outlook. In the creatives done for House of Hiranandani, the tonal vectors used have a minimalist feel which is to communicate the perfection and luxury of their interiors, while still keeping it relevant to social media.

Knowing what your brand intends to communicate should line up with the shape and form of the elements used in all communications to ensure consistency.

Microinteractions

There are hundreds of tiny interactions that users face, a majority of which don’t even get noticed. Through brilliant user experience, there are subtle motion design decisions made by developers that try to influence behaviour and make the process or task simpler. These are microinteractions and if done well, shouldn’t even be on the radar of the user. For example, the pull-to-refresh option on Facebook is something that we subconsciously do over other apps as well - and expect the same result. A brand that is fully aware of the spectrum of its interactions with the customer, and is focused on making the purchase funnel or journey as smooth and easy as possible, gains legitimacy and trust. 

Illustration styles (Flat vs Sketches)

Flat design and vectors were predicted to be one of the graphic design trends of 2018. Brands are hiring graphic artists to create beautiful flat illustrations to increase lead generation through their landing pages. Tech companies, real estate and even large conglomerates alike are going with this approach instead of a traditional full-width hero image banner. It adds a fun element to the page and certainly draws the user in. Corporates are no longer trying to make their communications stuffy and pompous. This works well especially in the case of businesses with heavy processes or complex offerings - it simplifies it and makes it much less intimidating for the viewer, improving the quality of leads in the process.

  

Customising the design style for each platform

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube - Chances are, your company has at least two, or even all of these, active. Each one has a slightly different target audience, although many overlap. It is essential to rework the visual communication for each one, so that it is the most effective for that particular platform. Companies that do this certainly get a nod of approval for social media savants - as merely resizing a creative does not mean that it is ready-to-go for a certain platform. Rearranging the copy, the caption, the graphic, ensuring that the Call-To-Action is at the most optimal place - all these are important factors to keep in mind.

 Adding regional accents to design

The Indian digital space is extremely diverse - and there is a growing need and appreciation for regionally targeted content and design. Companies in real estate, B2B, finance and FMCG, to name a few, have realised that using the same communication all across the country does not speak to every consumer - not just in terms of the base translation of copy, but the design and graphics as well. By using regional touches and local nuances to the design, the same ad can penetrate the tier 2 and tier 3 market in a much more effective way, and engage with India’s next billion Internet users. It also rouses a sense of pride amongst the customers as they feel represented.

This can be done by changing the color palette to better suit the aesthetic that a certain city is known for (like pink for Jaipur), include nods to monuments and local figures in that region (like Ranjikanth or temple architecture for Chennai) or even film dialogues woven into the creative copy.

This shows that the company is not only invested in the citizens of a certain area or state, but is willing to go the extra mile to build a relationship and start a conversation with them. You can read our case study on how a multilingual approach got a brand 90% growth in leads to understand the reach of regional design.

 

  

 

A modern brand is an entity of many moving parts - some tangible and visible, but others are just a result of good design decisions made, that make a world of difference. As the points above lay out - it is extremely important to pay attention to not only the messaging of your brand, but the way that it is being depicted for communication and consumption. Providing your brand with a strong personality and voice is the best investment in the short and long term!

You can also check out our case study on how a redesign strategy helped a brand increase social engagement for more insights.

For further information, here's our Creative Head - Panisa Shah to take you through design tips to improve social media ROI.


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