A new narrative at ad:tech Delhi

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on January 20, 2018

Alexander Schlaubitz, VP, Global Marketing, Lufthansa, at ad:tech, Delhi.

Jaswant Singh, General Manager, India ad:tech

Michael Chrisment, Global Head of Integrated Marketing NESCAFÉ, Nestlé

Actors Shilpa Shetty and R Madhavan at ad:tech Delhi

From shaking up content to building connections with empathy, brands shared their new outlook on digital marketing

A sign of things to come? A host of Chinese and Israeli marketing technology providers could be seen at ad:tech – the annual digital marketing and advertising conference held in Delhi. There were players like Baidu and Yeahmobi from Mainland China and startups like Offerslook from HongKong all peddling their wares at the action packed event.

According to Jaswant Singh, General Manager, India ad:tech, “This year apart from the 7 or 8 Chinese companies, there are several Israeli firms, and a few Russian ones too, trying to connect with Indian companies.” Mobile advertising firm Yeahmobi which already provides solutions to players like Paytm said it was seeking opportunities here. “We are also exploring setting up an India office,” said Lily Jia of Yeahmobi.

Perhaps what could explain the interest in India is GroupM’s annual forecast of advertising expenditure here. According to the agency, digital advertising expenditure in India is set to grow this year by 47.5 per cent to Rs 7,300 crore from Rs 4,950 crore in 2015 even as total ad ex rises only 15 per cent (Rs 56,486 crore from Rs 49,758 crore last year).

Clearly digital marketing is the new go-to area and this was reflected in the increased footfalls at ad:tech. From 5,500 registrations last year, this year saw a record 7,500 registrations according to Jaswant Singh. “25 per cent of the registrations are big brands, 25 per cent are agencies, 45 per cent are solutions providers and publishers,” he added.

Shaking up content

There were lots of takeaways from day one of the event, where fittingly enough it was a coffee brand – Nescafe - that woke up proceedings. In his opening keynote, Michael Chrisment, Global Head of Integrated Marketing NESCAFÉ, Nestlé, shared the coffee brand’s radical approach to content creation. From brand generated content Nescafe has moved away to a user generated content approach by migrating all its content to social media platform Tumblr. “We are the first global brand to enable that shift,” he said.

Chrisment also shared how Nescafe inspired real life stories and connections around coffee by using Google Cardboard. Nescafe facilitated a fully immersive virtual reality experience by transporting people to Brazil’s coffee fields by simply slipping their mobile into Google’s VR viewer.

Not only could brands offer content in ingenious ways, but even apps could become an engaging medium by building a fun and utilitarian function, shared Chrisment. For instance, Nescafe has created a social alarm clock through its WakeUp app. All people have to do is record creative videos and send it to facebook friends to get them out of bed at a specific hour.

Travelling with the Customer

If content is an important part of the brand building story, then empathy is needed to build lasting customer value shared Alexander Schlaubitz, VP, Global Marketing, Lufthansa.

He said “Innovation starts with empathy” and pointed out that “There are three kinds of people on airports: excited, nervous & sad. Empathy for all three is our goal.” An example of the way Lufthansa is addressing the emotions of its travellers is to look at airport situations. Very often airports are settings for sad farewells – people bidding goodbye to their loved ones. “For those saying goodbye and feeling sad, can we have tissue dispensers,” said Schlaubitz.

According to Schlaubitz, who shared a chart depicting a wheel that revealed the state of mind of travellers through the journey – starting from their homes to their final destination, 90 per cent of passenger experience is becoming homogenised across carriers today. He said airports look alike, airplane carriers look alike and even so do marketing campaigns. But how to stand out is key. Digital media campaigns that factor in empathy to the traveller’s state of mind could be key. He said however empathy goes beyond mobile and digital touchpoints and customers should be categorised on their basic necessities and comfort. Also empathy for customer must be spread across employees and the entire organisation as a whole.

Native is the way to go

Digital today is a complex playfield today and marketers shared their knowhow on negotiating their way ahead through tools like performance marketing, programmatic, omichannel and so on.

But the big noise at ad:tech was around Native advertising. With ad blockers becoming a sore point with digital marketers, some wondered if a blocker to block ad blockers could be created!

Mahesh Narayanan, Global Chief Operating Officer of Saavn, pointed out that given the ad blocking environment we are currently facing, an experience that is not native to the publishing experience will not work today.

Research by Yahoo and Enders Analysis forecasts that native advertising will grow by 156 per cent over the next five years.

Published on March 04, 2016

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