By Mahadev Srivatsa
Given the clutter that every marketer needs to understand, brand managers are constantly on the lookout for innovative ideas to continue to generate TOMs (top recall) for their brands. This is where topical marketing and a more “on time” version of it – momentary marketing emerged as a trend. So what is instant marketing and why is the advertising world divided these days?
Marketing of the moment helps brands relate to what their customers are most likely to see online. Brands try to create witty campaigns, to express their point of view around a trending topic / person, all to appear cool, quick-witted and appealing to the digital native. This is done primarily by removing a social media post and grabbing on to the organic traction that an online trend has generated. It’s a smart way to generate TOMs, with minimal investment, given how social media is amplifying all around an online trend. Sounds smart, doesn’t it? So why are brand managers facing criticism for something that should have come across as a quick think?
Well, marketing is a science and like in most cases science can be misused and what is considered good timing or humor can seem blatantly opportunistic if not done. the right way.
All this controversy, while not new in India, only recently gained momentum when a top athlete took offense at some brands celebrating her victory in this current marketing campaign. And they weren’t small players but reputable players who probably could have supported or funded his career. There were even rumors that some had actually refused his approval, but now happily clung to his success. This resulted in bulky copyright notices, deleted social media posts and most importantly, instant marketers and, in a way, digital marketers portrayed as opportunistic and insensitive. As they say, reactions are always extreme in the heat of the moment!
Although I am not justifying the action, but tainting a tactic used in marketing as being purely opportunistic is a little misplaced. Even before social media woke up to the term, Amul was a legend in showing exactly how it had to be done. Amul is a brand that supports TOM only through thematic advertising. In Dadar, Mumbai, there is an outdoor site unofficially called Amul outdoor. For the past ten years or so, we have seen Amul campaigns on this subject making the traffic that passes below smile smile. So what is it that makes it work and other brands attract reviews? The reason is the trust and fairness that the brand has built over the years. He can afford instant marketing because he has spent countless moments building legendary stature for himself. It is one of India’s most beloved and trusted brands and the Amul mascot is iconic and widely loved by all Indians. And when you have such stature, people also consider it a privilege to be associated or featured in an Amul campaign. This is what makes the difference.
Here it is the celebrity who needs this mark and not the other way around. To add to that, he was also associated with the Olympics, so due diligence was well in place to continue his topical communication. Fevicol is another example in a similar league that thrives on topical marketing. Once again, their witty campaigns mostly hit the mark and put a smile on the consumer’s face.
Marketers should take the necessary precautions and have all copyright angles checked and only execute if they are sure that the brand will not be viewed in a negative light due to instant marketing. If there is a greater risk of the latter occurring, then it is better to let the moment pass. Customers also operate on social media and are clearly able to see through and tell the difference between a promotional campaign and an instant campaign. Brands must therefore be careful not to be seen as those who are always ready to hitchhike! At the industry level, since digital advertising is only meant for greater growth, it makes sense to have well-defined rules in place, so that neither the brand nor the celebrity feels wronged. .
Ultimately, this tactic does nothing for market share and has almost zero impact on a brand’s revenue. It is purely an online game. So if it’s just a matter of calling TOM, be the savvy marketer and answer your call. Because life is full of moments and whoever is there for the long haul always knows it – Apna Moment Aayega! And when it does, do it right.
The author is vice president – marketing and branding, practically
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