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Social conversations can be used to measure brands' health: Shiv Singh

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | February 24, 2012
At this year's edition of ad:tech in New Delhi, Shiv Singh, global head, digital, PepsiCo delivered the keynote address, speaking on real-time marketing and how digital marketing promises a healthier reach compared to traditional advertising.

Ahead of a day complete with insightful discussions on digital marketing, Shiv Singh, global head of digital at PepsiCo, set the ball rolling with his keynote address on real-time marketing in a hyper-connected ecosystem.

Singh touched upon various points and stressed on the need for a brand to be on its toes all the time to ensure a constant healthy dialogue with the consumer.

Shiv Singh

He opened his discourse by pointing out how brands need to establish a human connect with the consumer. "We need to have brand connections in a more humane manner to connect. When we don't do this effectively, even if we underprice our competitors, we won't gain market share, add value and will be trumped by the competition," said Singh.

With 30 billion Facebook status updates, 250 million tweets being published and 5.3 billion views on YouTube every day, Singh says that the world has just become a lot more challenging for brands and digital marketing.

He said that while on one hand he is excited about the increased penetration of the internet, the increasingly challenging and complex scenario also make him sweat.

An interesting remark Singh made was questioning how many of the Facebook status updates, tweets and video views are about brands.

He said that it is encouraging that no one cares whether the source of online content is a brand, a publisher, the government or a user. All that matters is that the content is worthwhile. He added that this now means that marketers could use their budget to produce content and use people to distribute it.

Singh explained the power of real-time marketing with a simple example. He said that if Lady Gaga was spotted with a can of Pepsi at a particular place, and someone captured the video immediately, mashed it into a creative and broadcasted it online in the next five minutes to Lady Gaga fans all over the world, it becomes a very powerful and immediate connect for the brand with the fans.

He compared the same to the traditional communication procedure, which takes a lot of time to be produced and eventually distributed, thereby further emphasising the power of real-time marketing.

Singh cited examples of a few Pepsi initiatives that have helped the brand establish a better connect with consumers in real-time, which he believes is changing the world around us.

According to Singh, in the real-time world, six points matter - social data, trend data, digital ad data, interaction data, CRM data and advocacy data.

Successful brands will have to take care of the above, along with real-time insights, real-time responses, real-time content studio, real-time co-creation, real-time distribution and real-time engagement, contextualised in a geo-culture frame.

Singh said that the brand's role must move beyond the traditional sponsorship as humane connections cannot be made using brand muscle. A brand, he said, needs to perform the roles of being an observer, curator and creative, besides the sponsor.

He also stressed on the need for brands to embrace the start-up culture, establish a fruitful partnership with businesses that have potential and grow to become more successful in the future.

Touching upon the point of mobile marketing, he said that mobile is exciting because it connects the digital and physical worlds. He observed that the time is right to go deep on location and mobile marketing, considering the social activity that takes place online using the mobile medium.

Towards the end of his discourse, Singh mentioned that real-time marketing is transforming measurement. "Social conversations can be used to measure brands' health," he said.

He positioned against GRP (Gross Rating Point) the concept of GRPE (Gross Rating Point + Engagement).

Singh closed his address with some pieces of advice as he urged marketers to fight scale as it equals anonymity, not to start with technologies as they matter less, focus on user behaviours and the generated data, weave social media through everything, build around platforms and not campaigns, and to remember that it is up to the self to invent the future.

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