Ubaid Zargar
Social Media

When brands engage with each other in social media banter...

On Valentine's Day, Parle-G sought Tinder's aid to find a match. With social media fast becoming a hot pool for brands to engage with each other, we decided to explore the process that goes behind these activities.

With 400 million active users on social media, the Indian digital space is a potential gold mine for brands and marketers. To leverage this colossal user base, brands have worked numerous permutations to get the best out of digital, especially on social networks.

It is a common sight nowadays to see brands leverage hot topics of national or regional relevance, and fit themselves into the conversation with puns and memes, to garner some eyeballs. What's even more interesting is when brands engage with each other over social media for an orchestrated (or not) banter. Depending on the moment and the brand's take on it, the banter can fall between being casual, flirty, wishy-washy recognition or a comic bickering decorated with memes and one-liners.

Exempli Gratia

On Valentine's Day, Parle-G sought Tinder's assistance in finding a date. And the match-making site made a match. Marking in Chaayos, Tinder dipped the biscuit in tea - pun intended.

Having done Cupid's work, Tinder then stepped away and let the two have their own exchange.

Sharp puns, apt creatives, don't you wonder who's behind all of this? Is it really spontaneous, or is it all staged? We asked Parle all the right questions. Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products points out that some posts by the brand’s social media handle can be orchestrated, but a majority are spontaneous. Speaking on the banter between Parle-G and Tinder, Shah says, “It was completely spontaneous. Not staged at all. While sometimes, the posts can be orchestrated, they are usually spontaneous.”

Mayank Shah
Mayank Shah

Who is behind the social media handle of Parle-G, we asked. Shah answers, “There is a dedicated team that comprises four or five in-house members counter-partnered by a digital agency that takes care of social media. They work almost 24 hours, checking for trends and latching on to hot topics.”

With all the affirmative benefits social media can bring to a brand, every once in a while, brands can also find themselves at the wrong end of communication. Going social with every hot topic that surfaces on the internet can have some detrimental implications, leading to a possible consumer backlash, or at the very least - unfavourable returns. How does Parle-G tackle that possibility? Shah answers, “There is obviously that possibility but we have a team that is handling social media. They constantly look out for trends, special mentions, et cetera. The responses or our posts are therefore very measured.”

He adds, “You can’t always expect great interactions with social media posts. It may not cause a controversy per se, but there is a chance it may not work out as planned. Not every piece of content you put out on social media will be received well. Let's say, out of 100 per cent of social media posts, 10 per cent do really well. Other posts get you considerably lukewarm responses. And sometimes, some posts might not be received well. One has to be ready for all possibilities, and thankfully our team is very capable.”

Who monitors this entire process and are there any specific guidelines that the team has to abide by, we wanted to know. Says Shah, “Head of marketing looks after it. There are certain guidelines that the team must follow, but it depends on the brand. So, Parle-G's communication would be very different from Hide&Seek's. Krackjack would be very different from Rol.a.Cola. There are clear dos and don'ts in terms of the language that the team can use, liberties they can take, or the kind of post they can put out."