By Rose Tsou
When they moved into a new home, a young married couple bought all of their furniture online to escape the search for furniture during the Delhi summer – an indication of the kind of products and services that save the time. Indian consumers, according to a recent BCG survey. India’s large, millennial population is not only a financially powerful demographic, but with its affinity with technology, it sets a new agenda for marketers.
Millennials and Gen Z mobile consumers accustomed to on-demand services want the same immediacy, utility, relevance and value, delivered on the go, from the brands they engage with. Their ever-changing priorities and consumption patterns, coupled with technological advancements, open up exciting opportunities for marketers to connect in more meaningful ways, through experiences that excite and resonate with audiences.
Native now: from commitment to immersion
With new digital technologies, improved mobile connectivity, falling data costs, and exponentially increasing smartphone usage, we expect this to be the year of immersive native mobile experiences. Extended reality (XR) ads have the potential to engage consumers with interactive and emotional appeal that is fun and useful, but also to drive conversions and increase sales. With native augmented reality (AR) ads – smartphones are now designed for AR – consumers can accurately visualize what a product looks like in their own environment, in order to make better purchasing decisions. Global brand Pottery Barn, for example, has successfully used native AR ads to help buyers see interior design options in their actual home. Native AR ads can potentially help consumers eliminate costly mistakes and, as an added bonus, save buyers time. (No more traffic jams encroaching on shopping time!) We’re already seeing the native AR experience take it to the next level.
Blink and you miss it? The shift from attention to intention
In a crowded media landscape where gamers crave attention, brands face the difficult task of getting noticed and getting their brand’s message to resonate with the right audience. Advertisers now need to align with the “intent” of their audience, rather than fighting for their attention. Whether a consumer is checking emails, watching the highlights of a cricket match, or taking an interest in the news, brands can make a lasting connection and deliver a better experience by closely aligning with passions and the needs of their audience at a particular “time”. By taking an in-depth look at the motivations and emotions that drive consumption, marketers will be in a better position to create meaningful and impactful brand experiences. This can work, making the audience more receptive to a brand’s message. A recent survey by Verizon Media in the UK found that when searching for content with intent, more than half of respondents (52%) said they were more likely to transact, while 43 % said they were more likely to interact with brands.
The year of consumer confidence
Marketers today navigate a complex landscape, where customer trust in brands declines, fake news abounds, and privacy regulations evolve. According to the Ford Trends 2020 report, 81% of Indians say that in recent years it has become more difficult to trust what businesses say and do. Indian consumers want their brands to be responsible, credible and true to their core values. To regain trust, brands will need to reset their approach, partnering with platforms that provide reliable data – collected and managed responsibly – transparency in performance measurement and brand-safe solutions delivered with integrity. Where brands are ‘seen’ will be more important than ever. Advertisers should follow consumers who increasingly turn to trusted news sources – our study found that almost 40% of consumers said they would have a negative perception of a brand that advertises content almost offensive.
An exciting playground: emerging chains on the rise
Marketers will increasingly have new ways to connect with audiences, reaching consumers even closer to their point of purchase and where they were previously out of reach. The cord-cutting behavior of Indian consumers is changing entertainment consumption habits, creating opportunities for marketers. As video streaming becomes mainstream, more brands will be able to benefit from CTV’s superior targeting capabilities. In the coming months, marketers will also look to harness the growing popularity of audio streaming to deliver a personalized advertising experience to listeners, known to show high engagement and attention in this medium. Digital outdoor advertising (DOOH) is also growing in popularity. With the emergence of digital billboards in airports, shopping malls and other public places in Indian cities, marketers now have another contextually relevant channel to reach consumers on and off the device. Industry experts point out that DOOH is growing at double the traditional OOH rate in the country, making it a must-watch channel in 2020.
Technology that intersects with the changing aspirations of the Indian consumer is transforming the customer journey. It’s a new era and a new decade, where marketers will need to innovate and rethink how to meaningfully engage their audience in order to get noticed and regain their trust.
– The author is responsible for international and e-commerce, Verizon Media. The opinions expressed are personal.