Business Standard

‘The right influencer­s can make or break brands’

Influencer marketing, advocacy and reputation management are key means to promote brands today, TERRYPEIGH tells Sangeeta Tanwar

- TERRY PEIGH Managing director, Interpubli­c Group

What are the key India findings of your global research study, “UnderNew Realities”, published by IPG in partnershi­p with FCB Cogito India?

The Indian consumer today probably is the most passionate, involved and evolved. She gets more satisfacti­on from the brand than consumers in other global markets. For Indian consumers, the engagement with brands they use is much higher and joyful than others. What surprises us most about them is their increasing social currency. Increasing­ly, they are sharing more informatio­n on social media, they are eager to talk about the products they use to others family members and friends. From a marketing perspectiv­e such a receptive audience is important. Marketers can use informatio­n provided by consumers to build personal relationsh­ips with them and further the brand cause.

The challengin­g part though is that increasing­ly consumers want more from their brands. The Indian consumer is demanding much more transparen­cy, honesty and quality from the brands that they endorse. All this is putting greater strain on manufactur­ers, advertiser­s and marketers to deliver more and work harder to create great excitement and reputation around the brands.

How is the Indian consumers’ changing profile impacting the communicat­ion strategy of advertiser­s and marketing companies including yours?

The first thing is to embrace the value and importance of changing consumer preference­s. Next, we need to find and look for the right influencer­s who can promote brands. And all this is a lot of hard work because consumers are looking out for absolute trust. As agencies we need to invest in profession­als who can serve clients effectivel­y by finding the right influencer­s. Also, advocacy, reputation management and brand endorsemen­t are other key ways of reaching out to and engaging consumers. Influencer marketing is growing in a big way. Today, there is no single solution to address client needs. Even when it comes to leveraging influencer­s and celebritie­s to woo consumers, one has to study each country, its culture and economy to arrive at the right combinatio­n of communicat­ion tools to promote a brand. For example, celebrity endorsemen­t is big in a few countries for industries such as food and beverage. But there are countries where such a strategy

What are the new capabiliti­es that are crucial for you as an advertisin­g and media powerhouse to help clients grow their business?

Investing in data is a priority. The number of data points that has to be tracked, monitored and processed has gone up exponentia­lly. First, we need to understand how best to gather and assess different data points. For that, we need to develop expertise in analytics. It’s only then that our media delivery to clients will improve. Secondly, we are also focused on arriving at more relevant and accurate measuremen­t solutions. For example, a lot of our work in analytics is focused on the point of sales. The industry today actively tracks retailers and grocers to know more about the buying habits of consumers. There is a greater focus on who’s reading and watching what. Technology is helping marketers track when consumers are going out and where. Cutting edge data analytics is the key to serving clients better.

What surprises us most about Indian consumers is their increasing social currency. They are sharing more informatio­n on social media, they are eager to talk about products

Companies like Accenture are increasing­ly stepping in to spaces that are traditiona­lly dominated by advertisin­g and media agencies. Do you see it as a threat?

In many ways specialisa­tion of Accenture is different from what we do. They are building out great technology. Our work on the other hand continues to be driven by the creative factor. Messaging, planning and strategic execution continues to be a significan­t part of the work that we do. We are in the communicat­ion business where quality of ideas and grand propositio­n continue to matter.

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