MTV Youth Marketing Forum: Social media enables brands to localise messages for youth

By Nisha Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | April 30, 2012
This was the idea that resonated at the MTV Youth Marketing Forum held in Mumbai, where experts deliberated on the power of social media to target youth to spread the message and build conversations to enhance sharing of information and ideas.

The MTV Youth Marketing Forum in Mumbai saw marketing experts from varied fields coming together to shed light on the best way to get youth involved with brands and campaigns. The theme for this year's marketing forum was 'Power of One'.

Aditya Swami

Andy Ridley

Henry Holm

Aditya Swami, executive vice-president and business head, MTV India kicked off the discussion with the view that content is the king. He said, "Content is the No. 1 social currency. To reach different sections of the population, we need different tailor-made content. This is true for the youth, too, as they have the power to bring about social and cultural change due to easy access to internet and social media."

Swami added that the social media has brought about a revolution among the youth to make them one. He said, "Social media has changed the way we function. Brands too need to understand this. Marketers must realise that campaigns with global reach and message will impact the youth more than a localised one."

Emphasising on the need to build conversations and dialogues between brands and the youth, Swami said, "Youth is an empowered generation today, with easy access to information, large friend circles and internet at their disposal. To interact with such an audience, marketers must adopt a strategy where participation and sharing takes predominance."

Andy Ridley, executive director and co-founder of Earth Hour took the stage next with his views on the power of social media in running a campaign such as Earth Hour. He said, "Social media enabled us to take the Earth Hour campaign to 152 countries and 6,926 towns and cities. The virtual cycle of content created made it into the consumers' campaign instead of our campaign. People came up with their own ideas to drive the Earth Hour campaign through social media."

Elaborating on the importance of localising a brand message, Ridley added, "With Earth Hour, we saw that different geographical regions have different issues. Though the underlying message is of protecting our planet, local people adapted the campaign to match their need and requirement. And, social media was a huge enabler in localising the brand message."

Speaking at the forum, Henry Holm, senior vice-president, Rovio Entertainment, makers of the Angry Birds game, said that heightened interactivity with the audience is what drove the success of Angry Birds."We use a mix of marketing channels to promote Angry Birds. They include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and our website to reach out to our consumers. Licensing and merchandising adds value to our brand as it ensures more engagement."

Holm added that making a product that is available on multiple platforms and screens, too, adds value. He said, "As marketers, what we need to reach the right audience is to incorporate social media and the brand message into the product to enable the consumer to give active feedback. So technically, instead of a 360 degree marketing mix, we need to adopt a 720 degree approach. Innovation is not about thinking out of the box. The real question is why do you even need a box?"

He further added that a brand cannot build a business with fans only. "Only having a presence on social media is not enough. The marketers need to tap the medium to get the feedback periodically and incorporate the feedback into their product."

The forum also saw speakers such as Imran Khan, actor; Chetan Bhagat, noted author; Simon Smith, digital director, Europe, Interbrand; and Angela Barkan, senior director, marketing and publicity, Sony Music, among others.

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