India’s advertising industry is in the throes of dominant change in recent times and nowhere is it more visible than television and marketing campaigns themselves. Indian brands are now tapping into international markets and audiences for their products and services. The Micromax advertisement was one of the first campaigns that made use of an international ambassador in the form of global Hollywood celebrity Hugh Jackman and this helped the brand create its own presence and niche in the global market courtesy its tie-up with Jackman and its strategies like free X Men movie content provisions on its smartphones and the release of television commercials and promos for the same.
Other brands like Timex have also roped in ambassadors like fast bowler Brett Lee earlier. Reaching out to international markets is a strategy that has been employed before but only catered to limited markets and Indian consumer sentiment was always kept at the forefront. However, campaigns are now choosing to focus on global perspectives. This is witnessed through concepts like the sharing of happiness promulgated by Coca Cola to the need for every kind of friend which promoted Bharti Telecom.
All successful Indian advertisements have always tapped into unlimited reservoirs of emotion, something that has always worked with the domestic consumer. However, the global shift is visible with the advent of international brand ambassadors or creative and funky ways to get the message across. Brand strategies are changing in accordance with global tastes and consumer behaviour. The changing face of India as a global superpower has a lot to do with this shift in advertising messages and strategies.
Multiple Indian celebrities endorse famed global brands and the trend is being reversed here now. There are advertisements which have hit bulls-eye in a global context as well and this is opening up the floodgates for this new international flavour and feel in Indian advertising. Google Search had huge success with its story of two reunited friends across the Indo-Pak border and Indians lapped it up in spite of Google not being an Indian brand at all. The same strategy is being employed in reverse by Indian brands to create more audiences and newer markets for their products.
In line with this changing trend, advertising agencies are now focusing on getting the message across in innovative ways without turning to emotional triggers as was the call to action theme before!
More and more advertising agencies are choosing to tell their brand stories through billboards which still have no equal when it comes to garnering consumer attention and eyeballs in equal measure! Take the case of the appropriate positioning of movie billboards near places where they were shot, especially those which talk of particular issues related to the areas in question. For top brands, these billboards are all about telling stories and communicating the brand message on a wider canvas to the masses.
As can be seen nowadays, advertisers are making use of big hoardings and billboards to create a commanding presence for products and brands. A whole new process and approach has been born out of the recent restrictions imposed by the Mumbai municipality with regard to conjoining billboards. Billboards have now been confined to specific sizes by the municipality and this rule is being tapped positively for better brand positioning by agencies. Many advertisers are choosing to tell a comprehensive brand story and deliver a message spread throughout two or three billboards placed adjacent to each other. Often, advertisers make use of multiple devices like text and visuals as foils on multiple billboards.
Many brands like Apex Home Appliances, Axe deodorants, Millionaire apparel, Birla Sun Life, Lakme, Poonam Soni’s jewellery brand and many others have made use of hoarding clusters to draw unlimited attention on streets and roadways crowded with billboards and hoardings. Advertisers usually prefer to create a particular hub across multiple hoardings at one particular area, ideally a place where traffic movement is slowed down to the maximum according to industry experts and professionals. Many agencies make use of split billboards nowadays as well where one half conveys the visual message and the other contains the necessary information for the customer.
Outdoor advertising revenues have been hit hard by the global economic depression but experts feel that the sector should bounce back with innovative measures like the ones mentioned above. Alongside, occupancy rates are on the wane for outdoor advertising and this helps advertisers pick up clusters together without any hassles. There are discounts provided on the basis of multiple billboards commissioned owing to the falling rates in today’s times. Billboard advertising is making its presence felt in mainstream strategies of brands and how! There are even brand marketing messages now tailored around them.
Digital advertising is growing at a staggering pace in recent times. The entire industry has been abuzz with the new found relevance and convenience offered by digital platforms. This has caused a steady change in the advertising industry and key players are following suit to jump onto this lucrative bandwagon. As per industry estimates, the market for online advertising in India will cross INR 3, 575 crores and counting by March 2015 and advertising expenditure on mobile and digital platforms is increasing by a whopping 43%! This has set the cat amongst the pigeons in the industry and is supremely indicative of evolved consumer behaviour and preferences.
The overall growth rate of digital advertising is being pegged at 30 percent annually which is staggering by all means. As per industry estimates, the sector was worth around INR 2, 750 crores by March 2014 and this has been seconded by industry reports and statistics published by leading advertising associations and organizations. The biggest contributors to the entire digital advertisement spending pie are display and search which constitute 29 and 38 percent respectively as per reports. This has caused a rethink on strategies usually employed by top advertising and media agencies. Advertising trends are forever in a state of flux, something that is both chaotic and disruptive if not handled right.
Alongside, Search spends came down to about 30 percent soon after for total digital advertising expenditure. Search still provides a whopping INR 825 crores of overall revenue for the market. Alongside, it is being predicted that digital advertising spend will increase on videos, email and mobile advertisements which will eat into Search shares in turn. Social media accounts for about 13% of overall advertising spend digitally and this is growing rapidly to about INR 440 crores in March 2014.
Expenditure on video advertising has grown by a decent 51 percent to touch INR 303 crores while email advertising has now become an INR 88 crore market. This should be growing to the tune of 56% soon and will hold a decent 12% of all digital advertisements put out by brands. The biggest verticals driving the digital advertising boom are e-commerce, FMCG & consumer durables and telecom and this trend is set to continue in the near future.
Consumer behaviour has changed radically as a reactionary aspect to the entire concept of selling and consumerism at large. Advertising trends have changed and evolved quite naturally as a result. Word of mouth was the oldest followed and social media only takes the concept forward in a more efficient manner. Social media is largely representative of the changing consumer where interactive sessions are now routine for both companies and customers. Customers are increasingly being empowered with regard to their choices instead of being made to gulp down some of the choicest advertisements.
This increasing power of choice and consumer freedom augurs well for advertising agencies but also leaves them with little option but to keep reinventing themselves in the wake of certain radical changes in mindsets and consumer behaviour. The internet is fast becoming an advertising mecca, being cost effective and easily accessible. Target marketing is now coming in at the expense of large scale mass based promotional campaigns. Spending habits of customers can now be tracked and analyzed to come up with suitable campaigns along with analyzing their interests and purchase triggers.
The changing customer has come to be mapped with opinion polls, surveys, segmentation and other ratings. These marketing activities work on accuracy and precision alone and largely influence all advertising activity in any particular segment. Customer feedback is now of immense importance and is actually used by brands to come up with interactive advertising campaigns geared at merging the same with the brand message in question. The changing customer is no longer into spending extra time on advertisements whenever there is a choice or opportunity. Channel surfing or radio channel switching is a routine affair. Unwanted emails are discarded instantly while blocking telemarketers is an option many choose to take these days.
Yet, advertisements still have their own distinct flavour in the consumer mind space in spite of changing habits and the freedom of choice. Spending power has increased and the huge number of options available in every sector puts the onus on the advertising industry to favourably position particular products over their competitors in the minds of customers. Customer sensibilities are constantly evolving and agencies have to be on their toes continually with regard to meeting the same fruitfully. An example would be embedded advertisements neatly integrated into stories themselves which are considerably smaller and more attractive as compared to their lengthy and superfluous counterparts.