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November 2010

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Brand activations: what are they, how and how much of them can be used? a look at what the industry experts feel about it.

Brand activations

Focus on

Showcase
Brand activation can be defined as marketing process of bringing a brand to life through creating brand experience. some say they are the only conversations in this world of monologues. Brand activation is not merely a theory it is a natural step in the evolution of brands. a journey that takes us below the line. an amalgamation of few case studies to understand the world of activations better. a showcase of how activations build bridges between the brand and its consumers.

Guest Article
ambika sharma, coo, Jagran solutions writes about the consumer-centric approach, a sure shot to the success of Brand activations.

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Comment

a lowdown on why traditional media entities have full-fledged activations arms now. are they a threat or just another innovative way forward? to the already existing event managers, afaqs! explores...

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Interview
By Ankit Bhatnagar
ankit.bhatnagar@afaqs.com

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Why do established names in traditional media branch off in activations? a tete-a-tete with r K agarwal, cFo, Jagran Prakashan.

Points of View
Have tv properties started using activations innovatively now? industry experts share their thoughts.

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Guest Article
atul nath writes on roi and measurement - the two buzz words of the future of event industry.

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Brand activations: conquering Hearts and minds


Marketing is like a battle, a battle to conquer the market share. In this break-neck competitive and increasingly cluttered market, brands and their managers have tough time. Advertising has always been the prime weapon to build brands. Saturation is settling in and over dependence on this form of communication has led to over communication. Ad clutter is on the rise and shows no signs of abatement. There is no doubt today that marketing is more challenging than ever. By Ankit Bhatnagar

hile many companies are experimenting with new approaches to marketing, few are tackling the problem head on with a new philosophy. Enter experiential marketing and brand activations. But what are those and how do they work? Al Ries, the author of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, describes a brand as something people will pay more for than a commodity. Brand activation can be defined as marketing process of bringing a brand to life through creating brand experience. Brand activation is not merely a theory it is a natural step in the evolution of brands. In the urban scenario, there are lot of ads which keep appearing, there is lot of static outof-home media and there is so much of saturation

that everybody is bombarding messages, said Priya Monga, Business Head, RC&M. This increasing clutter in communication is diluting brand messaging and proposition. Multiple choices of products and services are making it difficult for consumers to decide and act. Also, in this cluttered environment with high degree of media segmentation, advertisers sometimes find it difficult to connect with the audience. Todd Wasserman, news editor of Brandweek once said, The 30-second spot is getting cataracts, walks with a limp and will soon need to be put down. Many marketers agree that traditional marketing is no longer as effective as it once was. In this new world, experiential marketing creates the

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november 2010

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real life experiences shape our opinions and buying preferences more profoundly than what we see in advertising or hear from our friends.
ambika sharma, coo, Jagran solutions

relationship. Television, newspapers and other traditional media create awareness but lose the relationship-building role that they once had. As categories evolve, the task shifts from mere awareness to engagement and building connect with the consumers. This is where activation comes in, which helps bring alive the brand and let consumers touch, feel and experience the product or the service, said Samir Gupte, Country Head, Ogilvy Outreach. All these factors have lent themselves in making experiential marketing a viable marketing platform for brand managers today. Customer is the king, and is better informed today. Brand activations give customafaqs! reporter

er an upper hand to decide and transform consideration into buying. Activation enables customers to make a better informed decision, it is something that they are aware of and, I believe, use to full advantage. said Ambika Sharma, COO, Jagran Solutions. In the case of activation, consumers are not forced and they themselves decide to be a part of the whole thing willingly. It is a two-way communication medium. If through the activation they get new information or new experience they will pay attention and lap it up, said Gupte. Feedback is also an important factor driving brands to do activations. An activation campaign has interactive format that not just delivers a spiel but also has the ability to answer questions and settle queries. A good activation is able to build conviction in a consumer far faster than any other medium. In fact consumers who have been a part of experiential marketing campaigns will tend to remember and understand the brand message and its offerings much better than who havent taken part in the campaigns. Its a mistake to think that consumers in rural India are not as aware of the importance of brand activations as their urban peers. Awareness is there, whether its about a fourwheeler or two-wheeler, lubes or durables. Its a myth that people in rural areas are not aware customers, said Monga of RC&M. Activations have been the pre-eminent way of reaching out to consumer even before T.V. and print were discovered. From rickshaws advertising cinema in villages to the village melas or haats where the producers, the sellers, the local brands everybody is selling, It is brand activation at work.

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samir gupte country head, ogilvy outreach

traditional media create awareness but lose on the relationshipbuilding role that it once had.
The rural consumer is in an environment very different from ours. The motivators and points of influence are stronger and not just on mass media alone. Word of mouth, experience as well as tradition plays an important role in rural settings. Activations are a very important part of the media mix for any consumer centric brand. Most marketers now plan their activation schedules and budgets much like they do for print or electronic media. Activation now complements traditional media and is used as an effective tool to increase concentration of interaction for specific consumer groups. Which would have a bigger impact on a buyers intention to buy a product reading about it in an advertisement or trying it out first hand? The fact is, real life experiences shape our opinions and buying preferences more profoundly than what we see in advertising or hear from our friends. All consumer oriented products and industries utilize the medium of activation. Experience adds to the possibility of purchase and as long as the competition is close by, activations and experiential marketing will continue to gain importance. While FMCG for the sheer volume of the product base is a large
priya monga, business head, rc&m

category, IT, telecom, automobiles and consumer durables are others which utilise the medium extensively as well. Experiential marketing, through brand activations, presents an experience that people choose to attend to and participate in, after identifying the relevance of a brand or product to their needs; hence resulting in a more participative environment of product selection. Brand activations help the customer in retaining and recalling the service or product offered. In other words, activations help marketers gain valuable insight by interacting directly with consumers outside mass media landscape. The objective of brand activations is to change the customer awareness into consideration and to convert that consideration into buying. To bring your product to the buying stage, it is very important that brand

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venke sharma director, arc worldwide

brand activations change the customer awareness into consideration and convert that consideration into buying
activations are done. With low literacy levels and limited access to electronic media being a combined factor in limiting information dissemination, activations works effectively in the emerging markets. Consumers can touch, see, feel and try the products, which is a very big advantage over traditional media. It is also a fact that they can see their peers, family and friends purchase the product which is an endorsement of sorts. For example, if an activation agency is selling tyres through brand activation, it would ensure that if it is meeting 50 farmers, there should be at least two farmers that have tractors where the tyres shown can fit. If they do, those two farmers become the brand ambassadors. The tractor with that tyre will become the brand ambassador. This is because they are seeing it. Those two farmers will further talk about it. The fitting of that tyre will lead to a recall. Its a mind game. Brand activation should just lead to a positive word of mouth. Through activations the brand should be able to convert some customers on the spot so that they become its spokesperson later on. That is the end result of brand activation. Activation can also be customised in the local language while addressing specific consumer pockets. It is a very strong advantage in a country where it is said lingo changes at every step and language at every leap, said Venke Sharma, Director, Arc Worldwide. Lot of companies who conduct outreach programmes in Tier II and III towns, where you have house-to-house sampling programmes, educating village workers in certain categories, activating brands through them. There are some brands that have taken this very seriously and are increasingly doing activations in rural areas. There are lot of other brands who rely on what T.V. does for them, give them reach, give them aspirations and then hope that the consumer will at some point of time act on it, Sharma said. n

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veHicLes oF cHange
CLIENT TVS MOTOR COMPANY BRAND TVS Scooty Pep+ Marketing Objective: The marketing objective was to target regions where scooterette category was growing and to create relevant connect with the target group. Market ScenariO: Scooty and Scooty Pep+ are formidable names in the scooterette segment, with stiff competition from others. TVS Motors has strong presence in Tier 2 markets with bikes like TVS Star, but Scooty Peps sales lagged in these markets. Primary problems being brand awareness and salience. cOnSuMer inSight: After research the consumer insight that came to fore was, higher education is still a foreign territory for girls in non-metros and that mobility is an expression of freedom, freedom to move ahead in life. Freedom to move could be connected with the freedom to study further. the caMPaign: The campaign devised included a programme to promote higher education, where girls aged 15

years and above were asked to write an essay in on: What is your choice of career and why? 32 scholarships of INR 25,000 were given. The campaign was promoted via hoardings, print ads, celebrity endorsements and advertorials. The school contact programme ran across 58 main towns in tier-2 cities.

Having Fun, in disguise


For a leading General Entertainment Channel (GEC) Jagran Solutions did a marketing campaign named Are Deewano Mujhe Pehchano, whereby a reality show which was a fusion of tricks, fun and entertainment was created. cOnSuMer inSight: The consumer insight was that consumers like to be entertained via celebrities and like to share their personal experiences with them. caMPaign: The campaign strategy included creating news in the entertainment genre. The campaign had to reach two nodal target groups: media and masses. As a part of the campaign television celebrities met TV viewers in person, but all this happened with a tinge of drama. The celebrities were disguised and were taken to media houses and various public places.

afaqs! reporter

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FearLessness and daredeviLry


CLIENT PEPSICO INDIA BRAND Mountain Dew Marketing Objective: Connecting TG with the brand communication Darr Ke Aaage Jeet Hai and encourage youth to believe in themselves. Market ScenariO: Colas are leading the soft drink category but the flavoured and fruit-based drinks are also gaining space in the market courtesy increasing awareness about health and well-being. PepsiCo which enjoys good market share faces stiff competition from the Coca Cola Company. Though theres no direct competition from Mountain Dew, Thums-Up is also positioned as a brand for the adventurous. cOnSuMer inSight: Aerated drinks are part of lifestyle for modern day consumers. Mountain Dew, with its extreme citrus taste is gaining prominence, especially among youth because of its positioning. the SOlutiOn: After extensive analysis, a concept was created for the youth. The challenge was taken to the audience via a mobile float to lever-

age on the mobility aspect and in turn reach out to maximum number of people. It had specially designed dare games like knife aiming wall, dark box, walking on the broken glass. To make the activation come alive, audience were challenged to come on the float and show their daring attitude.

reSult: The activity took place in Mumbai and received extensive coverage in electronic and print media.

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consumer conversations are game cHangers


Ambika Sharma helps understand consumer-centric approach, a sure shot to the success of Brand Activations.
ambika sharma, coo, Jagran solutions

M
three things driving brand activation are measurability, focus and innovation.

essaging is everywhere from the time we wake up to the newspaper, to the time we shut eyes post switching off the T.V. Newspapers, magazines, mobiles, walls, bus shelters, elevators, roads, computers, movie screens, car radios, buses and trains are all hurling multiple messages at the consumer. Sure we listen but have we ever tried talking back? Experiential marketing is a conversation in the world of monologues. Amidst this clutter, all brands are vying for minimal spillover with maximum consumer influence. While traditional mass media is integral arsenal to deliver the brand message,
afaqs! reporter

todays consumer is influenced by demonstration of the claims. Thus for the core primary consumer of a brand, experiential marketing plays a vital role in reaching out and activating the brand at the right time with the most critical last mile that drives consumer recruitment: Experience. When both media complement each other, the enhanced return on investment is evident. Activation is not just about demonstrating a product, it also about the key factors in the purchase decision making process like positive word of mouth, brand experience vis-a-vis product experience and dialogue talking to the consumer about what is relevant to him. While it varies from industry to industry and brand to brand the trend is strongly evident, increasingly budgets are being planned towards driving consumer experiences. Three drivers of the increased presence of brand activation are Measurability, Focus and Innovation. Brand activation is an evolving genre which has caught steam in the past decade, however, it is now that we are beginning to utilise its full potential. Solutions are increasingly channel neutral and marketers seldom utilise one media to make the consumer expe-

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Courtesy: photolibrary

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mobile phones. The usergenerated content is building stories for the brand that are more realistic now. Giving the brand activation planner bigger opportunities not just for reach but to build synergy and efficiency in his plan. New dimensions of providing experience and generate word of mouth. Not just messaging but sharing, not just delivering content but enabling the consumers to create content for the brand. Consumer is king, and royalty is shrinking its no longer just everyone; its very specific subset of the socioeconomic category and age groups with filters of attitude, thought process, their social networks, their dreams and aspirations. These activations worked as they have kept consumer at their core and build on the consumer insight keeping a clear focus on the return on investment. Marketers are increasingly relying on activations as they help in starting a conversation with the end consumer. Activations create long lasting awareness, providing an ideal platform for an interaction with the brand leading to a first hand experience of the brand value proposition in totality, including experience of the product. Lines are blurred now. The nomenclature of school contact programmes, road shows, college contact programmes etc. is fast becoming redundant, there is only one emerging truth which is that of the most effective solution against the specific objective. The future is consumer-specific not location-specific. Locations are media, and in activations media is dynamic, fresh and ever evolving. The attitudinal change in expecting more out of the brand activation canvas has long begun, is well on its way and would soon start to snow ball. The need is to start looking beyond the obvious, bringing in a more realistic integration of creativity and technology to deliver an enhanced return on investments. n

experiential marketing is a conversation in the world of monologues.


rience enriching. Brand activation has taken a holistic approach with potential to integrate mobile, on-line, social media, word of mouth and public relations within its offering as a consumer experience driven solution. With virtually unlimited options, when planning activation we are limited only by our thought. This has to a great extent led to a was there; done that, what-is-new? attitude, which in turn reflects directly on to results of the best intended consumer experiences. In the current times breaking the clutter has become a salient feature in almost every brief. Herein, the understanding of consumer behaviour and how to use that to meet deliver objectives is what comes to the activation planners rescue. Consumers are literally talking about their lives and experiences on virtual platforms and

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more tHan Just sPace seLLing...


They no longer just sell advertising space but also activate brands and their attributes. Media entities have full-fledged activations arms now, are they a threat to the already existing event managers? By Ankit Bhatnagar

of its sheer effectiveness vis-a-vis cost. Our ot just selling advertising space, BTL business registered a growth exceeding media companies are also facilitat60 per cent in financial year 2010 and we ing connect between advertisers expect that it would again register growth and their audience. Entities ranging from of over 30 per cent, albeit on larger base, established names in print to radio to even Agarwal said. on-line space now have well-etched Activations have gained importance in activation arms. the marketing budgets for all B2C products According to R.K. Agarwal, CFO, Jagran across categories. Specific budgets are set Prakashan, BTL is part of our larger plan of aside for activation by almost all brands becoming a true multi-media company. In for added effectiveness in their marketing order to be successful yardstick of which is plans. With this trend activations will be an customer satisfaction, you need to specialincreasingly powerful media for marketers ise in whatever you do and this is why we as well as media houses. In have a dedicated specialised autonomous BTL arm. for activations, fact, during the downturn in 2008-09, it was activation With the economic meltbesides only which remained unafdown impacting advertising authority in fected rather grew mainly budgets, activations, many because of its sheer effecsay, scored brownie points as readership pockets and tiveness vis-a-vis cost. Our a cost-effective medium. Durcredibility, BTL business registered a ing the downturn in 2008-09, growth exceeding 60 per it was activation only which publishers cent in financial year 2010 remained unaffected and boast of deepand we expect that it would rather grew mainly because rooted reach.

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Birds eye view


A look at some of the major players, who have branched off in brand activations as well
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again register growth of over activations range from better placed. 30 per cent, albeit on larger large format shows, awards Media compabase. We remain pretty opti- nights, sports meets to nies which have mistic and expect it to con- leadership seminars, thinkother alternatinue to grow profitably in tives to offer will tank conclaves, exhibitions times to come. be always better and csr initiatives like For traditional media entiplaced and in ties like publishers having an teach india campaign. that, those who activation arm translates into have print as conducting brand activawell will be still tion and venturing into experiential marketing better placed than those who have only radio for clients. That also means creating periodical or only TV, Agarwal said. event properties, for which the media compaPrint has much larger base of the clients than nies have the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) a radio company. That set of clients would aland getting advertisers to sponsor them. The ways need various things including below the events category could be anything - large forline (BTL) activations, radio and so forth. A cusmat shows such as beauty pageants, awards tomer of a radio company may not need all night, sports meets, besides leadership semithose things. Since print entities have larger nars, symposiums and think-tank conclaves, exbase than a radio company has, to that extent hibitions, and of course, CSR (corporate social they have more opportunities to get BTL busiresponsibility) activities. CSR initiatives can innesses as compared to radio companies or pure clude events like The Times of Indias Lead India BTL companies, Agarwal said. and Teach India campaigns. While separate activation divisions floated As many feel, on the face of it, publishers seem by media groups do compete with traditional to have an advantage over traditional event events or experiential marketing agencies, it management companies, with media on their is these agencies which provide the last link of side. Besides authority in readership pockets the activation chain for media firms which dont and credibility, they boast of deep-rooted reach have a separate setup to manage events. In as well. those cases, the ideation is done by the media According to some social observers, pubcompanys brand team and an events agency is lishers having activations arms are always be called to execute the show. n

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intervieW

creating neW toucH Points


When connecting with the consumer is paramount, every media entity scout for unconventional avenues. Traditional media players now have well-etched activation verticals. Do brand activations provide the best way forward? afaqs! explores

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this is an industry which does well when the chips are down.

hy do established names in traditional media branch off in activations? afaqs! spoke to R K Agarwal, CFO, Jagran Prakashan to get the answers. Some excerpts:

traditional media players having separate arms for activations? Your comments on feasibility of integration in a media entity.

BTL is also a form of media. It fulfils a specific objective of the clients to reach their consumers and establish connect with them. BTL is part of JPLs larger plan of becoming a true multi media company. In order to be successful yardstick of which is customer satisfaction , you need to specialise in whatever you do and this is why we have a dedicated specialised autonomous BTL arm which has come to be recognised as one of the best in the country in a short span of time,
r k agarwal, cfo, Jagran prakashan

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thanks to their innovative skill and extraordinary efforts demonstrated in delivery. In addition to BTL, we have other new media divisions such as Mobile, On-line and OOH all of which have a national footprint. Activation, out of home, digital are all various forms of media. The larger objective of becoming a multi-media company fit in our plan very well. This enables us or rather gives us an edge over those who are pure print players, when reaching the client and offering them 360 degree solutions. This is the industry which does well when the chips are down. As we saw in 2008-09, the advertisers were under acute pressure and people referred to activations and BTL activities.

the activation industry is seen registering a growth of over 20 per cent.


crores; whereas activations contribute around 800 to 900 crores annually. The activation industry is seen registering a growth of over 20 per cent. In this industry, no single player has a turnover exceeding 150-160 crores except Wizcraft. Our turnover was 25 crore last year, this year we expect it to be 35 crores. In terms of turnover, we expect to be at No. 2 slot by next year. Last year we grew from 15 to 25 crores, this year also we will be registering a growth of not less than 10 crores.

in business terms, how do you see activations in long-term? What are the financial prospects, present revenue and future projections.
Activations have gained in importance in the Brand/Marketing budgets for all B2C products across categories. Specific budgets are set aside for activation by almost all brands for added effectiveness in their marketing plans. With this trend, activations will be an increasingly powerful media for marketers as well as media houses. In fact, during down turn as we witnessed in 2008-09, it was activation only which remained unaffected rather grew mainly because of its sheer effectiveness vis-a-vis cost. Our BTL business registered a growth exceeding 60 per cent in financial year 2010 and we expect that it would again register growth of over 30 per cent, albeit on a larger base. We remain pretty optimistic and expect it to continue to grow profitably in times to come. Total BTL industry size is approximately 2,000

how important are activations in a media mix today?


Activations compliment mass media. They have carved their own niche in the media mix given its effectiveness in establishing so important direct communication with the consumers

are standalone activation companies a threat to the activation arms of traditional media players?
We will always be better placed. Media companies which have other alternatives to offer will be always better placed and in that, those who have print as well will be still better placed than those who have only radio. Print has much larger base of the clients than a radio company. That set of clients would always need various things including BTL, radio and so forth. A customer of a radio company may not need all those things. Since print entities have larger base than a radio company has, to that extent I have more opportunities to get BTL businesses as compared to radio companies or pure BTL companies. n

our btl business registered a growth exceeding 60 per cent in financial year 2010, it is expected to growth over 30 per cent again, albeit on a larger base.

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Have tv ProPerties started using activations innovativeLy noW?


Most TV channels today take the route to activations for creating the buzz around their on-air properties. How many are doing them wisely and are they innovative at all? Some points of view:

Kashmira Gandhi

Marketing Director, Nickelodeon

es. While TV remains the most powerful medium to reach out to millions of viewers and create awareness, viewers want a personal touch when it comes to brand engagement. This is especially true in the case of kids for whom cartoon characters are larger-than-life. They want to touch, feel and play with these characters which enables them to create a closer bond with their toon friends. Kids are very tough to reach out to since they are not ardent consumers of print and radio. To engage them, Nickelodeon reaches out to them in malls, schools, super markets, parks, housing societies, etc. One of the main planks of Nickelodeon as a brand is to engage kids through innovative on-ground properties through which they can meet the Nicktoons and get a personalised experience with them e.g. Dora The Explorer does multi-city tours every year in large metros and engages her fans through story reading sessions and tea parties. Lets Just Play is Nickelodeons annual initiative encouraging kids to play outdoors and Nickelodeon also hosts large Play Fests simultaneously in four-five cities. The channel also engaged kids this summer with the Horlicks Summer Carnival where Nicktoons and thousands of kids participated across 4 cities. Dora participates in the Mumbai and Delhi marathon. Having launched a new product called Squap, Nickelodeon is now conducting Squap championships across various malls in metros. n

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aviK Prabhu

VP (Western Region) Showtime Events


he fact that television programmes themselves are using activations is an innovation. In our country, typically, TV programmes have only found promotions on-air or during other programmes or through a teaser article in a print publication. Are they using it innovatively? I dont think so. Very few brands in India actually invest the time, effort, thought and money to do activations innovatively. Apollo Street Hawks on National Geographic can be one of the examples. Very few TV properties in India allow the possibility of an activation to be used effectively. For a property to use activations effectively, the plot of the programme has to be open-ended. Something like the movie Inception, where the open ended conclusion engages the users mind in the content of the show allowing you to then build on various other activities to actually involve that mind. Very few Indian TV shows engage the viewers mind in that open-ended format. Its sad. Reality TV shows like Big Boss works well though. If we were to say that TV shows also cover sports programming then, I think activations are very extensive. Look at the IPL for example. n

V properties have become the platform for large scale activation in recent times and it is being used innovatively too, Godrej STAR Khelo Jeeto Jiyo was one such example. In recent trends Advertiser Funded Programmes (AFPs) are being utilized as an effective tool to develop properties and integrate brand proposition, the most recent VW Ultimate drive challenge on MTV, is a good example. Though brand activation via TV properties are a bit more complex than the regular brand placement in existing properties we should expect some robust and very innovative content coming up when properties being developed for TV and the brand propositions are integrated. Since the properties are not restricted to only GECs, sports properties too are being effectively used, like we did see many new mobile brands during the IPL. The different properties on which they market the event on ground, mobile, blog as well as nicely integrated Facebook, Youtube and Twitter pages, is a very nice touch more consumer-centric, effective and exciting. n

rahi shaiKh

Director, Box Office India

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roi and measurement: BuzzWords oF tHe Future


Measuring effectiveness of activations has always been a point of debate, Atul Nath, MD, Candid Marketing gives a lowdown.

A
till a few years back, very few clients evaluated the activities they were investing for, in roi terms.

LL of us compare benefit and cost of almost everything we do everyday. And not just in matters of money. Any kind of expense or investment is first analyzed in terms of the value equation. The specific analysis that is done may well be done in qualitative terms or quantitatively, that is often the only difference. Historically, Marketing communication has been an area in which the qualitative and subjective evaluation rules the roost. Even today, large parts of the established advertising industry is evaluated subjectively and at awards functions and processes the creative is given considerably more importance than the return in business terms.

As the activation and events business has developed over the past decade and a half, the qualitative and subjective evaluation process has been the primary path. Till a few years back very few clients (and even fewer agencies) felt the need to evaluate the activities that they were investing in, in Return On Investment (ROI) terms. To add to this the economy was booming and the question was not, how much you were spending but where you were spending? Most clients simply looked for agencies that would efficiently get the job done rather than be concerned about the results of the job. This was never going to last, it was a myopic approach to the business and many fly-by-night operaDifferentiate the Difference

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atul nath, md, candid marketing and evp, eema

while the time to develop a measurement tool for our industry is right, the path ahead is not entirely clear.

tors made money and have now fled the industry. This has very quickly turned upside down in the past year or so. This has hastened the need for justifying spends for all concerned. Most clients are now being forced to ask some very uncomfortable questions to themselves and their agencies. What do I get for the money I spend on an event /activation? Add to this, the fact that the industry itself has gone through a metamorphosis and as a result today the leading agencies are in a position to answer the question, something that may not have been possible a few years back. The time is right to develop a measurement tool for our industry. While the time is right, the path ahead is not entirely clear. This is primarily because our industry is a highly competitive and fragmented one. Unless a strong centrifugal force is created, the natural tendency is a strong centripetal force. And therein lies the problem. It is absolutely crucial that the industry stand together in the development of the tool so as to create a common platform. A common platform is even more important

in our industry because of the complexity of our industry. While we keep referring to the Events/Experiential Marketing/Activation industry as one industry, the reality is that the industry is actually an amalgamation of four-five mini-industries. Consequently, the process of developing a measurement tool becomes an even more complex business. Each particular business segment has very different drivers and thus measurement of outcomes needs to be approached differently. The challenge is to go down to the core of the process to understand what makes it tick and then develop the tool around that core. The process is complex but not impossible, far from it. At the end of the day, a process-based tool developed by the industry for itself will take into account all the intricacies and complexities and prove the efficacy of events and activation to clients or investors. This process of developing such a tool has been taken by Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) the national body for the Events and Activation industry in India. EEMA is developing a tool which will deliver ROI analysis and evaluation for clients to be able to measure results. It is inevitable that an objective tool or rating system will come into being will assess, measure and report the efficacy of events and activation to clients from a neutral stand-point. The neutrality of the stand-point is a no-brainer. Several agencies in the industry have attempted developing and implementing proprietary tools but I think such a move is inherently flawed. Having an agency evaluate and measure its own projects is a bit like making students evaluate their own examination papers. And while we would all have loved to do that when we were in school, it was never going to be! The neutrality of the tool is the reason EEMA took it upon itself to develop and eventually implement the ROI measurement process. Moving forward, a neutral rating system developed by the industry as a whole is crucial to the growth of the Events and Activation Industry to prove itself as a viable and often better marketing communication option to advertising. n

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afaqs! reporter

november 2010