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06 Best Pieces of Advice On Making Digital Work For Your Brand

Digital continues to gain power in all spheres of our lives. This is not only about marketing or communication, it is equally about how we operate as individuals. This is one of the reasons why understanding digital is important for marketers and entrepreneurs so that they can effectively use the medium to their advantage.

According to Deloitte Digital’s bi-annual CMO survey, “digital ad spending is increasing dramatically, rising 14% per year on average vs. traditional ad spending; whereas traditional ad spending is showing no signs of growth.” This reality is gradually becoming a norm.

In Bangladesh, digital has been showing a consistent upward trend over the past couple of years. A growing number of brands are allocating more and more budget to digital. This trend is likely to continue in the coming days.

Having said that, ensuring effectiveness in digital continues to be a challenging affair. Because the medium is fairly nascent and there is a scarcity of sufficient local understanding. From the introduction of our Future of communication series:

“The internet offers new opportunities and challenges for consumers as well as for marketers. To users, it offers the freedom to choose which content they want to attend to, from an abundance of content, unlike TV world.

The central difference between internet and conventional media is in the mindset. The internet represents an abundance mentality and freedom whereas traditional media is about scarcity. This is the central reality of this new world that changes many rules. For instance, in digital audience decides what ads they want to attend to and when.

The way people consume entertainment and news has fundamentally changed. This calls for a deeper understanding of the medium not only to do well in digital but also to succeed in the conventional medium. Because the consumption habit of digital does influence the expectation from and consumption habit of traditional mediums.”

Over the past couple of months, we have interviewed a host of marketers and digital aficionados to develop a deeper understanding of the medium and how to utilize the opportunities and navigate the challenges offered by the medium. In this article, we culled a list of relevant tips and advice which we believe will help you to be more effective in digital. We hope you enjoy the read.

1. Digital is not a mere channel, in order to be effective, we have to understand digital in light of how it is changing not only how we communicate but also how we live.

Khandaker Anwar Ehtesham, FVP & Head of Communications & Branding, Dhaka Bank, makes an important point, he says we often make the mistake of looking at digital as a mere marketing channel whereas it is not. He then continues: “The first thing we need to understand is that digital is not something isolated and it is not only about marketing. It is a lifestyle.

We uber from one place to another, we message to communicate, we Youtube or Netflix for entertainment and we Facebook for social life.

Now, in order to be effective, we have to understand digital in light of how it is changing not only how we communicate but also how we live. Unless we understand this reality, it will be a tall order to do meaningful work on digital platforms because when we treat digital as a mere communication channel, we miss the most important point how it is disrupting our lives.

Understanding individual platforms independently and what makes that platform different and how people consume that platform is also critical. We need to spend more time in understanding the consumption pattern of a platform and try to measure how the customer will go on in the future.”

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2. The age of ad is over. Instead, communicate and invest in differentiated content.

Mr. Ehtesham claims digital offers unprecedented power at the hands of customers which was and is not the case in traditional mediums. In digital, customers make the ultimate decision about what he or she wants to attend to, meaning you have to provide something that customers want in order to be effective.

He says. “the age of ad is over. It is about communication and doing so in a meaningful way that not only makes sense for you as a brand but also adds value to your users. Unless users see something for them in your communication, they would not attend.”

Mr. Ehtesham suggests, creating differentiated content and experience for your customers can offer you an extra edge over the competition.

He says, “the challenge of digital, to my understanding, is creating a differentiated experience. As you know, digital is extremely crowded and as users, our attention is supremely fragmented. Thus the challenge for marketers is to find a way around these two limitations and create content that will offer a differentiated experience to users so that they can recall and remember you. In an over-crowded space, which social media platforms are, you have to curve a differentiated identity for yourself in the market. However, I think we sometimes run after quantity over quality.

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3. Find a balance where you can take the best advantage of both digital and traditional medium

S M Didarul Hasan, Senior Marketing Manager of M M Ispahani, raises an important point that the objective of communication for any FMCG product is to reach out to maximum number of the audience and given the fact that digital is a rather nascent medium in Bangladesh, we should find a synergy between digital and traditional medium to generate the best result for our communication.

He says, “our understanding is that to successfully market our products to our varying target groups, we need to converge our traditional and digital marketing in an effective manner. We always try to do that. It is not about using a channel for the sake of the channel rather understanding the mediums where our customers spend time on and then doing relevant activities on those platforms so that our customers notice us.”

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4. The psychology of this new medium is different from old mediums

Mr. Didar acknowledges the fact that “the rise of platforms like Smartphones, Facebook and companies like Google has significantly changed how we communicate, shop and consume entertainment.”

Then he continues: “as a marketer, we are in the business of buying attention. We do TV ads to get the attention of our consumers to our products and offerings. Now since people are paying more attention and spending more time on these digital platforms, we are essentially using these platforms. The challenge now is that people don’t use their smartphones or Facebook or Google the way they consume TV or Radio or Print media. The psychology of and everything about these new mediums are different from old mediums. That’s where the importance of digital lies.”

Then he suggests a fascinating solution to that challenge, “I think marketers need to be more humane and compassionate towards their audience on social media communication because that would allow you to better understand your audience and understand their pain points and go accordingly.”

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5. Success on digital platforms, to a great degree, depends on great contents

Since joining IDLC Finance as Group CMO, Jane Alam Romel has helped change the outlook of the leading financial institution of the countries. IDLC has been one of the few financial brands that have been investing heavily in the digital space.

Mr. Romel suggests that digital is materially different from the traditional medium. And it is almost impossible to win in digital with mediocre content.

He says, “digital is not TV. The way people consume content and behave and engage on digital platforms is different than any other medium. Success on digital platforms, to a great degree, depends on great contents. This is one of the challenges we face when it comes to digital marketing. While we do collaborate with great people, we sometimes feel that we are not that good at creating content for digital platforms.”

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6. First, understand your brand and then understand the medium

Azim Hossain, Head of Digital and eCommerce at PRAN-RFL suggests that before doing anything you should look inward and properly understand your brand, your objectives, and your metrics.

Azim says “the first part of the process is rather looking inward. You need to understand the brand properly, what a brand stands for and so forth and so on. Digital is a mere channel, albeit with its distinct characteristics, to reach your audience and in order to reach your audience effectively, you have to ensure that you know your brand and is reaching to them with the right message. Every brand has some strategy, guidelines and all, and sometimes, we tend to regard digital something independent and do inconsistent things.

I would argue that we should consider digital as part of our overall marketing mix and while designing a digital strategy it should be consistent with our overall strategy.

The next part is about understanding the medium and doing things that are conducive to it. For instance, it does not make sense if you use your TVC for Facebook or vice versa. I think it is important to understand every platform independently because these platforms have their own characteristics and nuances and then go accordingly.

We try to do things this way at PRAN. We maintain consistency and we keep the overall strategy intact and then we use digital channels with an understanding of these channels so that we can have a better result.”

Cover photo credit: Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

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