The virtues of virtual marketing: Trust but verify

-Dr Bibhas K Mukhopadhyay & Dr Boidurjo Mukhopadhyay
Contd from previous issue
Today, a one-minute video is about 52 seconds, considered too long. Microsoft has found that, since 2000, the average person’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Research supports the so-called ‘goldfish effect’ of social media – 33 per cent of viewers stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45 percent by one minute and 60 per cent by two minutes. Another distraction – 85 per cent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, suggesting consumers prefer muted ads. Consumer products giant P&G – one of the world’s largest advertisers – increasingly uses 5-6 second formats to quickly convey the brand and the benefit, while Heineken has recognised the need for videos to have ‘thumb-stopping power’ by telling their stories within6 secs on Facebook. Typically, a user-generated content is freely and willingly created and shared by everyday consumers, while word of mouth is the organic sharing of information or opinions about a product, company, or brand, from one consumer to the other. For the hospitality sector, getting customers to write reviews is one powerful way to facilitate the spread of word-of-mouth marketing. With various e-tail platforms in India and the giant Amazon, they build customer trust by showing them that a verified customer offers their endorsement of your brand. Therefore, looking ahead, leveraging consumer generated media for a company or brand’s marketing significantly boosts word-of-mouth marketing. Today’s dominance of IMC [Integrated Marketing Communication] keeps track with the everyday changes. Posting a video, for example, no doubt promotes brand awareness, increases consumer understanding as well as enhances conversion rates. Though a picture is worth a thousand words, yet, according to Forrester, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. What’s so good about video that it can convey the equivalent of 3,600 pages of text in just 60 seconds? Of course: businesses should use whatever resources are at their disposal to contribute to society in a constructive way. This has to be kept in mind in as much as, according to a recent corporate social responsibility (CSR) survey, 96 per cent of people believe that it is important for companies to have good social and environmental policies. Culture, leadership, organisational values and beliefs play a crucial role in designing any form of marketing and the choice of marketing communication. Some of the most popular banking ads are made by HSBC, and their slogan ‘HSBC. The World’s Local Bank’ clearly impresses the importance of speaking Glocal (global firms with a consideration for local markets) language. On the other hand, a company like Nike never really talks about their product in their Ads, instead they focus entirely on athletes and achievements of great sportsmen. Language (let us forget what landed A&F into serious legal problems), Colour (coca cola still dominates with its logo), Values (Tom Shoes, ‘one of one’ offering one free pair of shoes to a poor child in a developing country when you pay for your pair) and Leadership (socially responsible, participatory and ethical) all are determinants to successful brand building and designing Ads.
Dr Bibhas K Mukhopadhyay is Prof of Management, Dr Boidurjo Mukhopadhyay is International Development and Management Economist based in London, UK