Saturday, January 16, 2010

Using Internet for Brand Engagement & Activation

FMCG Marketers in Indian have generally used Internet like traditional media doing high impact and high visibility advertising akin to television advertising with almost negligible measurability or accountability.

With the onset of Global slowdown there is an increased accountability on brand advertising spends. Brands now are actively looking for more cost efficient ways of fulfilling their marketing objectives. This is where Internet can be used as it is the only medium that is completely measurable right from time of a user seeing an advertisement online to evincing of interest by clicking on it, to measuring of action post the click of the user. This throws open opportunities for advertisers that can go beyond using Internet just as a conventional media into the realm of what is called as “performance advertising”.

The basic currency for buying media on the Internet is CPM (Cost per Thousand ad impressions served). Since internet is completely trackable, there are other interesting payment models available on some inventories that charge on CPC (Cost per click done by a user on the ad) and even CPA (Cost per Action). Action is defined as what the Advertiser wants user to do post clicking on their advertisement, it could be a Registration, Sale, Enquiry/ Lead, Intent for information etc.

A question that is discussed frequently is “under what circumstances would FMCG advertisers need to go for performance based advertising metrics”? The answer lies in the distinct qualities of Internet as a medium. Internet can be actually used & measured for different points in the consumer’s path to purchase / consideration.
Of particular interest to FMCG Advertisers will be the fact that out of the various media options available nothing comes close to Internet when a marketer wants to engage with consumers. This is possible due to the Interactive properties of Internet Medium. Internet can also be used very effectively for Brand Activation campaigns. Further what is most interesting is that Brand Engagement / Activation can be done at very attractive costs and is totally measurable, thereby an Advertiser can actually measure Brand Engagement done in terms of “Cost per User engaged” or “Cost per user Activated”. On the internet, the advertiser can buy online inventory with a defined cost per brand engagement / activation clearly laid down.

Brand Engagement can be done in different ways. Depending on the Advertiser’s communication objectives - It could be creating an application / puzzle / game for a user online where the user can engage with this application / puzzle/ game and in the process soak herself into the core of the Brand communication. A few examples of Brand Engagement & Activation done by Indian FMCG advertisers are given below:

Lipton – Stay Sharp

Concept: Lipton wanted to communicate that the leaves picked for Lipton Yellow Label Tea are a natural source of Theanine, which along with the other goodness of tea can help drinkers relax and be alert throughout the day. For this they an online application where users were encouraged to solve various jigsaw puzzles online with an on ground event that culminated to solving world’s largest Jigsaw Puzzle.


Outcome: Lipton’s website states that close to 175,000 users engaged with their brand online by participating and solving various puzzles.

Quaker Oats

Concept: To position Quaker Oats as a healthy cereal, launched a web based initiative called Good Morning, the users are encouraged to register on the website and take a test online that shows health of the user’s heart and also gave tips on maintaining a healthy heart.


Outcome: The Quaker websites states that more than 120,000 tests have been taken in the past 2 months.


Concept: Olay wanted to do sampling of Olay Total effects. For this they used Internet marketing very effectively by getting users to come and register on their website to receive their free sample. These requests were followed by a confirmation call and the samples were then couriered to the users.



Concept: Peers launched an Internet initiative around their Brand proposition of ‘Masoom Pears’. The users (mothers) were encouraged to sign up on their website and upload their Masoom moment, a picture with their child on the website. The reward for doing this was that a selected mother-child pair will be featured in their print advertisement.


In the above examples, the most interesting part was that bulk of online media buys were done by the Advertisers on a CPA (Cost per Action) basis. In case of Lipton this meant buying online media on a cost per Puzzle play and in case of Olay on a Cost per registration for request of free sample. Such media buys eliminate any risk for the Advertisers of not meeting their marketing objectives vis-à-vis the budgets laid down.

However till now only a handful of Indian FMCG advertisers have made use of the power of Internet & Online Marketing for achieving Brand Engagement & Activations. There is a tremendous opportunity that still lies unexploited.


Note: The above artricle written by me was first published in 4Ps Business & Marketing magazine, issue 22 dated 4th-17th Dec, 2009)