Hi! After such a longgg hiatus, I am back.. feels good though. So, I have really been a busy bee… trust me, being a PR consultant is not that easy!
So, today, here I write a blog, about things, I have seen, heard and read about, debating endlessly and mindlessly with colleagues, friends, seniors, clients, and et al…
Hope you enjoy this one…..
” Once more ‘internet’ is the buzz word. This time the gush is larger and better! The web 2.0 has unleashed its power and declared its reigning supremacy- case in point- The Anna Hazare wave that has entire nation gasping! Not many would have imagined a frail and diminutive 74 year old man from unheard parts of the country to give the “men –in-control” a run for their money! For more than 2 weeks- ‘Brand Anna Hazare’ had people of all age and classes glued on to TV. While television gave him lion’s share of visibility and prominence, newspapers unleashed majority of its space to highlight a movement that seemed to capture the entire country’s attention and fancy. While the traditional media, played its cards right, “I am Anna!” screamed small time products like Gandhian caps, Tantra T-shirts, bags, etc. One of the cutest ode to the fragile old man would be the Ganesha idols wearing spectacles with Anna Hazare Topis! Creativity teaming up with reality! I must say.
While the attraction was the ‘Ramlila Maidan’, the actual drama was unfolding somewhere else- on the world wide web- which incidentally celebrated its 20 years of existence this year!
Some mind-boggling media reports suggest that the official Facebook page of ‘India against Corruption’ with 2.8 lakh fans on August 15, reached 5.01 lakh on August 28. (The figures are sourced from the Facebook page analytics tool, Buzzref.com). The level of interaction also increased significantly on the official IAC Facebook page. In April, the IAC page observed 385 messages, 0.9 lakh ‘likes’ and 28,000 comments. The month of August, on the other hand, gauged 314 messages, 1.9 lakh ‘likes’ and 37,000 comments, as per Buzzref.com data.
Twitter, too, reflected widespread participation of people in Anna’s anti-corruption movement. Messages related to the movement dominated Twitter conversations throughout the fasting period. People consistently talked about Anna Hazare, Jan Lokpal, Ramlila Maidan (the centre of Anna’s fast), Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal on the micro-blogging site. More than 1.7 lakh tweets mentioned ‘Anna Hazare’, 1.5 lakh tweets mentioned ‘Jan Lokpal’ and 32,000 tweets referred ‘Ramlila Maidan’ during August 16-27.
While some look at the incident, with a more sentimental way, – “what will happen to our nation, but for people like Anna” way, one could also look at the whole thing clinically, in order to learn something -“Virtual movement spawns real time change on ground”.
Here is looking at this to derive some valuable branding lessons for building brand image:
1. “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative! In a scenario, where every other day, you hear about some or the other scam, people were relived that there was someone who had risen up to the occasion and taken the almighty to the task. The idea that even the highest authority of the country- the PM could be investigated for misdoings- was a plan that seemed appealing and exciting! So in short, mere presence on web through websites, Facebook, twitter, etc, will not help drive sales if the product is not great!
2. Offer an experience –Every brand is distinct, but how do you make consumers appreciate it? Brand Anna has achieved what politicians couldn’t: “Bringing the privileged middle class to the street, “and making them believe that they could contribute to the cause and that they have the power to make things change. The members of Team Anna were constantly tweeting, updating statuses with latest news and created a wave of support by communicating to people on all web channels possible, while Anna lay down with a frail look. Likewise a brand has an opportunity to interact with its customers on a real time basis, making the product experience memorable and enriching.
3. Package it right! To sell, the right combination of product, price, promotion and place is very essential. In this case, packaging and place were of the utmost importance. Gestures like Anna meditating in front of Gandhi’s Samadhi at Rajghat, just before the fast began, stole away the limelight from PM’s speech visual on this Independence Day! Team Anna put a simple presentation on all web channels depicting the basic differences between their version of the bill, viz-a-viz the government version, which made people understand what they were saying! A web presence should be visually rich with images and illustrations. If images can be placed judiciously with proper words and phrases, they can make a long lasting impression on the minds of the visitors of web pages, social media sites, etc. Images can make a web presence look lively, vivid and can offer a much needed breather for the visitors!
4. Be Honest! While communicating through traditional media channels, control on information exchange is very easy. However, with the advent of internet, information can not be controlled anymore, a complain or a bad product will be known globally in minutes. Customer are not deciding what to buy anymore only because the ads or information directly from the company, for them other customer opinion in a blog or Facebook is now far more important! So being honest and transparent on all information during crisis and normal times will save the face for the brands.
So, go ahead and take that first crucial step in unleashing the true potential of your brand, otherwise you will be tweeted!