Pushkar Sane, CEO & Co-Founder of Convergination Ventures, cautioned marketers and advertisers not to treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet; the consumer needs an experience
Neha Saraiya | Delhi | March 02, 2012
With digital media evolving like never before, Microsoft Advertising organised the ‘Rich Media Rocks 2012 – Brand Building through Creativity’ seminar in New Delhi on Thursday. The event was attended by a host of speakers from Microsoft, digital practitioners and clients who use digital as a medium to reach out to their audiences. In the first session, Pushkar Sane, CEO & Co-Founder of Hong Kong-based Convergination Ventures spoke on ‘Engage your customers online with Rich experiences’.
Sane talked about how consumers, in today’s virtual environment, care about the “experience” and how “being able to connect” is fundamental to “how we live”. First point raised by him was the ‘parallel conversations’ which is kind of a bad news for brands as this indicates in dual situation wherein a consumer will not only listen to the competition but also ignore a brand’s message.
Highlighting the ‘language of convenience’, Sane dwelt on how people used emoticons and short-form language to talk to each other. “It is whole new world that has emerged,” he said, leading to a disconnect with traditional communication.
Sane coined a new terminology – ‘facends’ or ‘Facebook friends’ as we call them. Additionally, there are two types of circles that drive consumers; first is the circle of ‘influence’ and the second is the circle of ‘casual’ concern.
Also, the increasing importance of avatars is a growing trend followed by people. He said, “Companies have to look at what kind of experience they are really having. People pay attention to their avatars online. They are also curating their own avatars.”
Then he mentioned that consumers in the digital world are increasingly trusting the ‘unknown’ and are ‘disclosing footprints’. Though privacy is a big issue, consumers are leaving enough footprints for marketers to analyse. There is a constant migration that is taking place as people are not loyal to platforms. “There is also the tendency of publicising private problems in the public domain. People often drag their politics online which is resulting in a kind of open society,” Sane said.
He said, “For marketers and advertisers, people are numbers. They have nothing to do with creating stories. They look at consumers as spreadsheets which is sad. For them the consumer is a target to be hunted and people don’t like to be treated as targets. A consumer should not be made to feel as though he is in a jail.” People are on the websites for content and not to be hunted, Sane cautioned.
Taking the session forward, Sane threw light on common trends that brands need to take note of in the digital world. “Brands believe that they need to create noise and their entire objective rests on outshouting others but they never talk about creating an experience. Also, unfortunately, the TV mindset of interrupting people and breaking their privacy has become a bad trend among brands in the digital domain.”
The current approach adopted by companies for digital is to reach out to 100 per cent of the people, out of which at least 10 per cent will have intent to buy, resulting in purchase by 1 per cent eventually. He said, “Marketers tend to think that people are idiots. But the hard reality is that consumers are two steps ahead of them. The brand experience today is no longer linear and has multiple entry and exit points,” warned Sane.
Brands need to make a genuine appeal to consumers. He said, “If you are faking and your brand does not deliver, then people will find out, and this will eventually hurt companies in the long run.” Companies need to think of a brand as a ‘host’ and understand the difference between ‘stunts’ and ‘magic’. “Stunts will get the clicks but magic will get the customers, Sane said. Also, companies should learn, practise and evolve as there is no shortcut in this business.
Towards the end of his session, to highlight the dangers of insensitivity to consumer sentiment, Sane brought up the example of Dave Carroll, a musician whose Taylor Guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers. To hit back and show his wrath, Caroll uploading a song on YouTube titled ‘United Breaks Guitars’ that generated over 10 million views. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&feature=player_embedded)
Sane parting words: “Great creative ideas help in building brands.”