Aishwarya Rao
In today's web 2.0 world, the scope of digital marketing cannot but stretch beyond internet advertising and online sales. And for those brands that target the internet savvy youth, the opportunity to leverage the medium has never been brighter. So the rush to capitalize on the 'interactiveness' of the internet is not surprising!

From an Indian market perspective, Sunsilk's sunsilkgangofgirls.com combined the power of social networking, blogs, photo and video sharing. With online makeovers, fashion tips and information on hot jobs etc., sunsilkgangofgirls continues to be an active online community.


Although the long-term sustainability of interest in this medium for mainstream brands is still to be established, more of them continue to join the bandwagon. However, only few of these manage to generate the much needed online buzz. P&G that launched Being Girl in India, as an answer to Unilever's 'Gang of Girls', remains an embarrassing experiment yet to embrace the strength of social media. On the other hand a more successful and recent example is that of 'youth' brand Fastrack that is going the digital way. Their innovative and interactive 'virtual campus' website engages the young audience well. From forums, polls, contests to online catalogs the interaction is holistic.


And it doesn't stop there. Fastrack has stepped further into the world of social networks. With a "Fastrack-How many you have?" fan club on Facebook, the brand seems to have got the art of engagement and online relationships going right.




A user poll in a community 'Fastrack Rocks!!!' asks what the brand stands for? I am confident its brand manager is logging in every day to find out what Fastrack fans are saying. From the way things stand it seems like for youth-fashion brands like Fastrack, the digital effort will not only help sharp target their audience base and be proactive, but also remain relevant and futuristic in a market that is becoming increasingly driven by online search, technologies and virtual customer experience.
12 Responses
  1. King Vishy Says:

    Interesting to see how these marketing guys are trying to exploit web 2.0. But do you think they go on for long with this?

    I mean, youngsters already have a lot to catch up with, online. Everytime I login I check so many things: mail, orkut scrapbook, blogger dashboard for 2 different blogs, CAT / GMAT discussion forums and so on!

    Up and above all this, will I really have the time or the intention to logon to another site and "interact"? I sure do feel that the excitement abt interacting with strangers online is ebbing down (at least in India). The honeymoon period is over.. Now they have to innovate again.. Wat say?


  2. T.U.Dinesh Says:

    i haven't heard about the procter&gamble but i did sign in for gang of girls out of curiosity ...

    but i dont think someone might actually be hooked to this site for networking et all when there is orkut and facebook and a lot more ...

    but the companies getting into the 2.o bandwagon can generate some really good user feedback for their product


  3. Vishy,

    A recent emarketer report says "Much of the social marketing spend will be from the United States, where advertisers are expected to spend more than $1.6 billion in '08 ".

    If this is the case in an internet mature market like the US, then the opportunity is only bigger in India. You may argue that internet and online marketing/sales is still evolving in India. But isn't that what makes the market a golden duck?

    In one of his interviews to Sify.com, Navin Mittal, the man behind Fropper.com says - "Networking is something very characteristic of Indians. People tend to interact with total strangers with not the slightest hesitation in any public gathering. The internet has only made it far easier for the talkative Indian to form new relations every day".

    Although what you say about mail/orkut/blogger is true, I think we have the capacity to consume more...what do you say?


  4. Great point Dinesh.
    Why go to GOG to network when we have Orkut!
    It must be difficult for marketers to sustain interest in such forums(be it Gog or Bharath matrimony) without the help of mainstream advertising...It will be interesting to see the work social media consultancies take up in the coming times.


  5. King Vishy Says:

    Dinesh's point is what I also tried to make.. maybe the language did not convey that in that light :D

    Anyway, the numbers you are projecting refer to the amount of money that will go into social marketing.. that's fine.. But the question I raised was: those guys cannot go on for long with this.. at least, they cannot expect a "repeat audience"..

    BTW just a few mins back, i saw an AD on TV for GoG :) and that underlines what you already have stated: "difficult.. without the help of mainstream advertising"


  6. Simeran Says:

    What you've mentioned Dinesh, is exactly what we , at Fastrack, felt as well. And it seemed logical also that 1. we go where the crowd already is - instead of trying to drag them to a new place & 2. use a more efficient way of doing it online...rather than using mainstream media....


  7. Vinod Says:

    Interesting post.. I must confess your Orkut profile description caught my attention. I suppose if you track me down on Orkut, we are separated by just 1 degree of separation. I read other posts in your blog as well, well not all the others but some of them. I do envy your English at times but then I don't let that bother me too much. Good post-typical of a management student..


  8. Vishy,

    If marketers are throwing so much of money into social network marketing it is surely not any blind hope. That is the point I am trying to make. There is much scope if we look beyond 'blogging as social media'!


  9. Simeran,

    I am guessing you are the marketing manager at Titan, handling Fastrack. It is commendable that you are actually tracking what your consumers are talking about. But do tell us, what made you venture into social network marketing in the first place.


  10. @ Vinod,

    Uhmm, not sure how I am going to be able to track you down on Orkut. But thanks for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed the coffee...I am unable to access 'Human Lens' as of now. Do let me know how we can connect.


  11. King Vishy Says:

    Guess this is totally in line with the discussion here:

    http://tatapeoplescar.com/tatamotors/

    :)


  12. Yes Vishy, Good one. I was looking at it too!